Army Seeking Design For Hovering “Magic Bullet”

The U.S. Army has outlined what it has likened to a “magic bullet” in a recent list of weapons for small businesses to design for them.

The “Nonlethal Warhead of Miniature Organic Precision Munitions” is essentially outlined as a weapon that would locate and track a target, close in on it in less than 20 seconds, and then incapacitate the target without killing it. In addition, the weapon should be able to hover for at least 30 minutes in mid air at 100 meters above the target’s location if it is unable to meet attack conditions.

Wired calls the idea a “recipe for peak absurdity in weapons design. One part bazooka round; one part suicidal drone; one part stun round.”

The proposed nonlethal weapon would be a modification of the Lethal Miniature Aerial Munition System ( LMAMS). LMAMS is currently in its own infancy, the most well known example being the Switchblade drone by Aero Vironment (a small guided missile that soldiers can direct on a laptop toward a target).

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The Army does not specify how the new weapon should be non-lethal, but does offer possible methods as “mechanical, such as rubber balls; acoustic; chemical; electrical; or dazzle.” The Air Force gave up on plans for a dazzler gun in 2008, citing practicality concerns, and the design flaws in the millimeter-wave Active Denial System, a.k.a. the “Pain Ray,” have kept it stuck in development for 15 years.

The Army lists a number of potential commercial applications for the non-lethal, bazooka round in order to help give small businesses incentive in its designs such as “crowd control for local law enforcement; border protection for Homeland Security; or temporary incapacitation of non violent criminals for local SWAT teams and/or law enforcement.”