24th MEU conducts non-lethal training during TRUEX

20 May 2004 | Lance Cpl. Sarah A. Beavers

Marines with the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit tested out three new non-lethal weapons during the MEU's recent Training in an Urban Environment Exercise May 1-17.

The new modern marvels - X-Net, the Long Range Acoustic Device and the Vehicle Non-lethal Munition (VENOM) - will accompany them on their upcoming deployment and will give the 24th MEU new non-lethal options to use for force protection.

The X-Net, a lightweight, spiked net by QinetiQ -- Europe's largest science and technology company -- can halt vehicles within 75 yards.
The net entangles the wheels and axle of the vehicle, while miniature spikes puncture the tires, making the vehicle immovable and escape virtually impossible.

The net is made of a tough polyethylene called Dyneema, which, according to the QinetiQ website is, "pound for pound, eight-times stronger than steel."

The net has already led to one successful capture in Haiti, leaving many in the MEU optimistic about its capabilities in other hostile areas.

Along the same lines as the X-Net, the MEU also demonstrated the capabilities of the Long Range Acoustic Device, or LRAD.

The LRAD -- a disc-shaped loudspeaker -- can be used to broadcast warnings and commands at distances of up to several hundred yards.

"The operator of the LRAD has the capability to speak to from a distance, keeping Marines out of harm's way," said Ray Grundy, an official with the Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate at Marine Corps Combat Development Command, Quantico, Va.

The third new piece of gear tested by the MEU was the VENOM, a vehicle mounted device used to launch non-lethal ammunition such as 40 mm stinger balls and smoke grenades, allowing the Marines to put distance between themselves and danger.

"By providing a range and a volume of fire, we keep Marines beyond the reach of an angry crowd," said Grundy. "It takes us from a defensive posture to an offensive posture, allowing us to better control and influence the battle space."