As I was prowling the halls of the massive AUSA show here at the Washington, DC, convention center, I ran across this huge black tube filled seemingly with an office water cooler bottle wrapping in black electric tape.
I asked the guy at the UK-based BCB International booth, Andrew Howell, what this thing was all about and he showed me an intriguing device he says Brit commandos like to use to bust into buildings. (Yes, this is the same company that's marketing that ballistic Kevlar underwear)
Dubbed the Wall Breaching System or the "kinetic impact system," it's essentially an air cannon that shoots just about any material you want a distance of around 800 meters. It'll throw a water jug against a wall with enough force to break down several layers of concrete blocks. Howell said this is a preferred method to explosives since it's more predictable and less likely to shower shrapnel on the troopers or the target.
Though the video shows the kinetic impact system being used to breach walls, Howell also showed me examples of other payloads the air cannon is capable of firing, including paint balls, golf ball-like projectiles and long steel darts.
It's an ingenously simple solution to an everyday problem. It'll be interesting to see if the system is adopted or adapted by US troops.