One of the items showcased was the vehicle lightweight arresting device. The VLAD is a net with a spiked strip at one end and when deployed in front of a vehicle, it brings it to a controlled stop, without injuring the occupants.
This would provide a non-lethal opportunity for troops to distinguish between a confused driver and terrorist bomber at vehicle checkpoints.
“Although the VLAD has been around for some time, the manufacturer has developed a self deploying model,” said Eric Damm, EUCOM non-lethal weapons engagement officer, U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Europe.
“Because vehicle borne improvised explosive devices are a huge problem for our deployed forces, I believe this is a key technology,” he noted.
Other non-lethal systems displayed were: the X-26 taser, FN-303 less lethal launching system, active denial system, medium and long range acoustic devices, green laser ocular disrupter, hellfire spotlight, and numerous non-lethal munitions.
Approximately 50 Marines assigned to 2nd Platoon, Marine Corps Security Forces Company from Rota, Spain and 20 soldiers assigned to 1st Armored Division, 1st Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group and the Joint Multinational Readiness Command, based in Germany, worked as the ground forces during the demonstration.
The demonstration was preceded by more than a week of related non-lethal weapons training.
During this time the Marines and soldiers were exposed to crowd control tactics, Oleoresin Capsicum (pepper spray) certification, fired various non-lethal munitions such as 12 gauge blunt force rounds and threw rubber pellet grenades.
“I think training was extensive and the soldiers’ and Marines’ interest was apparent,” said Capt. Roberto Rodriguez, CAPEX coordinator, U.S. Marine Corps Forces Europe.
“There were many questions, discussions, and excitement about using some of the new weapons systems,” he explained.
The soldiers and Marines will take this training back to their commands, providing them skills that are applicable to today’s operational environment.
“It’s like a new tool for the tool box,” said Lance Cpl. Justin Moody, 2nd Platoon, Marine Corps Security Forces Company from Rota, Spain. “It is something new we could definitely use.”