POHAKULOA TRAINING AREA, Hawaii — The Marine Corps field-tested flash-bang mortar rounds designed to suppress the enemy and save civilian lives during the Rim of the Pacific exercise in Hawaii.
Twenty-five nations, more than 45 surface ships and submarines, 17 national land forces, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel are involved in the drills, which are scheduled to run through Aug. 2 in Hawaii and Southern California.
The Marines fired 56 flash-bang mortar rounds at Pohakuloa Training Area on Hawaii’s Big Island during the field test Monday. It was the first field test for the 81mm munitions, developed by the Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Program at Quantico, Va.
A standard mortar round is designed to strike and destroy a target; however, the new, nonlethal round can be timed to airburst overhead and release 14 flashbangs that descend with the aid of a ribbon attached to their tail. Parachutes attached to the metal shell prevent harm when they land.
The round, which took six years to develop, fills a capability gap, said Nathan Rush, a munitions capabilities integration officer who was on hand for the field test.
“The munition has reached a point where we felt comfortable integrating it into an exercise to get the operational feedback that we need from the Marines,” he said.