The Slimeball: The Development of Broad-Scale Maritime Non-Lethal Weaponry
AIR COMMAND AND STAFF COLL MAXWELL AFB AL
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To date, the development of non-lethal weapons NLW has concentrated on one-on-one applications and other small, tightly controlled situations. The development of broader scale NLW has lagged, however, even though the technical barriers to their employment do not appear to be insurmountable. In the maritime domain, in particular, making NLW available to decision makers could have decisive effects in a variety of potential and very real situations. The Slimeball is a two-part weapon system consisting of a floating sticky foam barrier that will resist attempts to remove it, and a submerged gel barrier that will impede movement through a ship channel. The parts can also be used independently of each other, depending on the type of munitions used to deliver the material and the desired effects. The primary consideration for successfully employing the system is to only use it in facilities that are sheltered from open water and exhibit restricted waterways, such as jetty-protected harbors or underground facilities with narrow adits. The individual components of the Slimeball already exist or can be manufactured to designers specifications, and some are even commercially available, but to date they have not been combined in the manner described here. By making a few key assumptions about the density and expansibility of the weapons components, it is possible to reasonably calculate the expected effects of individual Slimeball rounds of varying payload sizes, or of the combined effects of using more than one at a time. Additionally, the U.S.s existing inventory of munitions appears adequate for delivering the Slimeball to a variety of potential targets, eliminating the need for radical improvements in this arena even when standoff range and payload are taken into account.
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics