Is That a Chem-Bio Munition?

The UK magazine New Scientist caught a hot tip from sources within the U.S. patent world. Seems that a team of individuals invented a new type of rifle grenade (image shown is actually an old Canadian rifle grenade), and the U.S. Army applied for the patent for the munition. Presumably the individuals worked for the government, and I might suspect their agency is associated with the Ordnance Center at Aberdeen Proving Ground. Problem here is how they described the munition...rifle gren.jpg

There is the need to deliver and disperse a payload comprising an aerosol-forming substance without the use of high-explosives, the formation of shrapnel and shock wave. In addition, the devices for rapid dispersion and delivery must be capable of being readily launched from exiting conventional rifle muzzles, while providing efficient and effective target accuracy and range. Furthermore, the projectile is adapted for delivering a range of payloads while inflicting minimal injury and damage near or around target areas.In the same manner, there is also a need for delivering non-aerosol payloads or articles, including. but not limited to, flash grenades, concussion grenades, nets, noise generators, stun balls, tire puncturing elements, electromagnetic pulse generators, mines or bomblets, listening devices, signal emitting objects, unmanned aerial vehicles, biological/chemical agents, and the like for efficient, rapid dispersal and delivery.
The patent actually makes this point four times in print. Oops! As New Scientist points out, developing munitions for the purpose of disseminating CB warfare agents is, well, against international treaty these days. The Army is reportedly trying to withdraw the offending words, but can it really take three years (it was filed in February 2003)?My two cents - I don't think that the government is deliberately developing munitions to deliver CB warfare agents - I think a few enterprising government civilians designed the munition to be multi-purpose, and one possible purpose would be to deliver riot control agents or pepper spray (or any other non-lethal aerosol out there). They didn't think it through, and now it's in print. Rather than offend the arms control community and get the lawyers all excited, the U.S. government's trying to correct the situation. But still - hardly the thing you'd want to have floating around the internet. It's not like this government needs the bad publicity and the mistaken impression of flaunting international treaties...Hat tip to Saurabh and Saheli!-- Jason Sigger, crossposted at Armchair Generalist
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