November 8, 2004 Xtreme Alternative Defense Systems (XADS) Ltd., has been tapped by the U. S. Marine Corps to develop a directed energy weapon for use in riot control and other situations requiring less-than-lethal force. The proposed 'StunStrike' prototype will temporarily disable an enemy combatant without using any form of projectile or other means of direct contact. Pictures are unavailable of the SunStrike but XADS has a working model Personal Defence Laser Pointer (see main picture) on the market to dazzle targets.
Pete Bitar, the weapon's inventor and President of XADS, said that unlike a Taser device, the StunStrike system does not require wires to transmit a non-lethal electric jolt. "This gives the military, police forces, or private security companies enormous flexibility," he said. "It could dramatically alter the nature of law enforcement, war, peacekeeping operations, and other conflicts requiring the deployment and use of physical force."
Force Protection Systems Director George G. Gibbs of the U. S. Marine Corps Systems Command echoed Bitar's remarks: "The Marine Corps continues to look to the future for new and innovative ideas. The Phaser (or Stun) was certainly invented by the Star Trek Series, but StunStrike invented by XADS is the closest thing there is to bringing that fiction to reality. Once proven, this will be a tremendous asset for the Department of Defense."
The $750,000 contract to develop a family of prototypes for XADS's StunStrike system comes on the heels of an earlier $100,000 Department of Defense contract to show the feasibility of the innovative new weapon. This original Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract was also matched by a $100,000 grant from the State of Indiana's 21st Century Research and Technology Fund, bringing to $950,000 the amount XADS has been awarded in R&D funds. The State grant will be used to commercialise the StunStrike product line by helping pay expenses beyond the parameters of the SBIR contract.
The development of StunStrike technology will allow military and law enforcement personnel to engage multiple hostiles at the same time with less-than-lethal force. Using industry parlance, hostage situations can be diffused without risk of collateral damage or fatalities. Riot control can be handled with authority, but without causing harm to either police or rioters. The system can also be re-tuned to disable vehicle ignition systems, stopping cars or trucks without destroying them.
Lt. Mike Reed, in charge of the S.W.A.T. team for the city of Anderson Police Department, said, "the StunStrike is potentially a great less-lethal alternative to the weapons currently available to police departments and S.W.A.T. teams. We have been talking to XADS about a longer term relationship to become a test and training site. This could also be, economically speaking, a great opportunity for Anderson and the Department. We're hoping XADS can develop the weapon to its full potential."
Bitar, who moved to Anderson from Portland, Oregon, nine years ago, began designing the device in 2002 and has a pending patent on its unique technology. StunStrike prototypes are currently under construction and nearing completion. Three product lines are anticipated, of varying size, application, and range. Two of them will be ready for testing later in 2004, with the third to be completed and tested in 2005.
XADS is also developing its own line of laser dazzlers, known as Photonic Disruptors, designed to flash-blind and disorient an aggressor with eye-safe lasers. The products under the Photonic Disruptor series include:
The PDLP - Personal Defense Laser Pointer, a high powered, green beam laser pointer. As a presentational aid, the PDLP offers an acute range with a protracted reach of up to 200 meters. Because of the intensity and built-in adjustability of this beam, the PDLP can also be utilized as a potent deterrent against a potential attacker by delivering a disorienting effect from an extended distance. The PDLP is a practical and convenient tool for the individual with personal safety in mind and is the only Photonic Disruptor currently available from the XADS website now.
PD/G - Photonic Disruptor/Green; a long-range, much more powerful green laser system for military and law-enforcement applications, with effective ranges of up to 2000 meters.
BluDazzle; the first Blue Beam dazzler available for military and law enforcement applications; it is a medium range (500 meters) weapon with the ability to defeat green laser filters.
Dazzlers offer a lower cost alternative to lethal force in some circumstances, particularly at night. The systems will work in daylight, but to a lesser degree.