Advanced Weapons Inc. has a new non-lethal system designed for riots, protestors and Westboro Baptist Church services urban unrest. Aptly called the Crowd Buster, it’s a high pressure Oleoresin Capsicum delivery system designed to do 3 things. One puts a barrier between MPs, Security Forces or police and the rioters (directed introduction of pepper spray). Another incapacitates the disaffected and discourages rude behavior. The last eliminates the anonymity of rioters by marking them with an indelible dye introduced to the mix (like a dye pack in the cash from a bank robbery).
Pepper spray is delivered in a micro pelletized fog or directed stream up to 150’ (under ideal conditions; winds or heavy precipitation will degrade performance). According to Dr. Dan Sherman of AWT, the optional dye is similar to the ink used to mark the fingers of voters in the Iraqi elections.
Crowd Buster comes in a backpack (45lb carrying 5 gallons) or larger mounted version (an ATV or Gator maybe) that’s twice that size. It delivers OC in fine mist or direct spray, determined by a positional trigger. Compressed air is carried in a canister, the agent in another canister alongside. Dr. Sherman likened the system to an HMG. “You have a gunner and a loader. You can have the agent, just the pelletized spray aggravant, or another with the dye package. You can change options during the incident virtually instantaneously if need be. It takes a few seconds to reload or switch a canister.”
One backpack size canister will cover a large public square or prison yard with mist.
“What we’re trying to do is present a barrier, a debilitating smoky type fog fifty to seventy five feet from the tactical line,” Dr. Sherman explained. “Depending on wind conditions it will go further than that. It blinds the rioters or demonstrators from seeing what’s opposing them—it’s a smoke screen. It also causes confusion, breaks them into fragments and marks them for later. They’re not only going to be miserable, they’re going to see that the rioters around them are being marked. They won’t be washing it off, either, this stuff lasts 2 to 3 weeks.”
This might not be something that would be used too often in Afghanistan or Iraq, but we’re betting it would’ve been welcomed by some of the KFOR boys tasked with crowd control, or those caught up in civil unrest during FID missions now, etc. Damn sure beats shields and batons.