Soldiers in Iraq might soon get armored vehicles equipped with pain rays, sonic weapons, or guns that automically return fire if a Pentagon project works out as planned.As we've said before here, when U.S. troops are forced with an angry mob, they only have two options at their disposal, currently: the bullhorn or the M16. Last month, a U.S. helicopter fired into a group of Iraqi crowd, killing more than a dozen.The idea behind "Project Sheriff," according to Stars and Stripes, is to give "troops working in urban terrain more options, especially when deciding how to deal with potential noncombatants or civilians being used as shields."Four to six vehicles -- the Armys new Stryker armored personnel carrier, for example, or the Marine Corps Light Armored Vehicle -- would be retrofitted with non-lethal weapons and new defense systems. They plans have been finalized, yet. But options include the Active Denial System a microwave-like pain ray and the earsplitting Long Range Acoustic Device, a sort of bullhorn on steroids.But Project Sheriff will also have a new, deadly set of capabilities, as well. Under consideration in the Gunslinger weapons system, which "uses acoustic and infrared sensors to identify a sniper," according to Inside the Army. Then, a pack of machine guns can automatically return that sniper fire. The Pentagon wants to have the system in G.I.s' hands by June or July.THERE'S MORE: Reader RM wants to know, "Why can't they just use tear gas? Why all the money on fancy high-tech?" Here's your answer, RM, from Sid Heal, a long-time veteran of the Marine Corps and L.A. Sheriff's department. He's one of the leading non-lethal weapons experts around.
Because they [Active Denial Systems] don't change the environment and there is no personal decontamination required. For example, tactical commanders are EXTREMELY reluctant to use any chemical agent around intersections, roads, schools, hospitals, etc. AND it's effectiveness is largely weather dependent. A stiff breeze blowing in your face is NOT the time to deploy tear gas because it leaves the mob unaffected while putting all your people in masks.