US military wants to arm small drones and manned vehicles with non-lethal weapons

US military wants to develop a suite of compact multi-weapon system payloads that deliver scalable Intermediate Force Capability (IFC) effects combined with other military effects for: applicability and effectiveness in multiple domains; synergistic value of integrating the various IFC effects with other multi-use military capabilities in a common architecture, such as Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (C4ISR); secure communications; and automated fire control systems, all integrated aboard small manned and unmanned systems (UxS) platforms. Platforms include small tactical vehicles/vessels and unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs) for both urban and austere terrains, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for both counter-air and ground support operations, unmanned surface vehicles (USVs) for both the littorals and open water operations, and unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs).

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US military wants to arm small drones and manned vehicles with non lethal weaponsjpg Raven B UAS (Picture source: AeroVironment)

This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) topic seeks to develop a suite of more compact and lightweight long range non-lethal counter-personnel and counter-materiel payloads for integration on small tactical vehicles/platforms and UxS. These IFC payloads will support a variety of stabilization operations, gray zone warfare, and regular and irregular warfare missions across the full Range of Military Operations (ROMO).

These non-lethal (NL)/IFC payloads with enhanced system performance seek to mitigate codified joint non-lethal weapon capability-gaps. There is Service transition interest in these NL/IFC payloads in both the Maritime (U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard) and Ground (U.S. Army and USMC) domains as each Service currently desires IFCs via small/lightweight low-cost systems that can project/provide long-range IFCs. These desired effects across the full breadth of the ROMO must be accomplished with integration of these small NL/IFC payloads on tactical manned and unmanned platforms with significant reduced overall system size, weight, power consumption, thermal cooling (-55 degrees C to 125 degrees C) and lower system costs (SWAP/C2) .

Existing IFCs have known range and overall system size and weight limitations, i.e., the current COTS solutions only mitigate a very small portion of the codified Joint Requirements Oversight Council (JROC) approved counter-personnel and counter-materiel capability-gap. This topic supports future long range compact and lightweight IFC to provide long range hail and warn, non-lethal counter-personnel tasks: such as deny access, move, suppress, and disable individuals and non-lethal counter-materiel tasks: such as stop/disable vehicles, vessels and aircraft.

These new innovative compact/lightweight IFC payloads include existing, both commercial off the shelf (COTS) and developmental, NL weapon technologies/stimuli such as:  dazzling lasers, 12 gauge/40mm non-lethal munitions (blunt impact, flashbang, riot control agents, human electro-muscular incapacitation, malodorant) with associated munition launching/targeting and fire control systems;  long range acoustic hailing devices, and directed energy (DE) weapons such as counter-electronics (e.g., high power microwave weapons) and Active Denial Technologies (ADT).

These new innovative payloads shall also include new/novel non-lethal payloads with innovative human effects and new non-lethal stimuli such as optogenics modulation of high magnetic fields and other new non-lethal stimuli that provide long range IFCs such as: long range hail and warn capabilities; area denial – deny access capabilities; human target suppression; ability to move individuals and/or groups of individuals from open and confined spaces; and (5) ability to non-lethally incapacitate/disable threat human/material targets.

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