Americas Military

US Army researching rubber ball non lethal warhead for LMAMS.

An interesting problem, how would you drop a relatively lightweight non lethal dumb object from a UA very precisely. How would it look if a rubber ball arrived from nowhere and knocked out the person stood next to you! We see a sports career in the future of this UAS.  Another entry in the UAS Got Talent tab

Right down at the bottom of the SBIR, the potential use is interesting considering the expected opening up of US airspace for Police UAS.

Potential commercial applications might include, but are not limited to: crowd control for local law enforcement; border protection for Homeland Security; or temporary incapacitation of non violent criminals for local SWAT teams and/or law enforcement.

The US Army Research, Development, and Engineering Command (RDECOM) is responsible for execution of the Army SBIR Program.  Information on the Army SBIR Program can be found at the following Web site:

OBJECTIVE: The objective of this effort is to develop a non-lethal warhead for use on miniature organic precision munitions. Non-lethal is defined as a warhead which is not deadly to the target personnel but is incapacitating for a period of time. The new warhead must be modular in nature, self contained and interchangeable with the standard lethal warhead. This effort will require innovative research and advancements in non-lethal technologies which can be packaged within a very small volume and weight.

DESCRIPTION: The primary objective of this effort is to develop non-lethal warhead technologies for application to miniature organic precision munitions such as Lethal Miniature Aerial Munition System (LMAMS). LMAMS is a small, soldier-carried, soldier-launched loitering precision munitions system, organic at the small unit level. LMAMS will offer the soldier a portable, non-line-of-sight precision strike capability against individual stationary or moving individuals, ensuring high precision effect from covert positions, with a very low risk of collateral damage.  LMAMS allows engagement of enemy personnel and soft targets in urban/complex environments without exposure to direct enemy fires.  The U.S. Army expects the new weapon to weigh around 3 lbs (1.36 kg). The user will also carry the integrated operating console and communications unit, weighing an additional 3 pounds. The entire system could deploy and be ready to fire within 30 seconds. Once launched, the system should be capable to acquire a man-size target at the system’s combat range, in less than 20 seconds, flying at an altitude of 100 meter above ground. If conditions for attack are not met, LMAMS will be able to loiter over the target for up to 30 minutes. For the terminal phase, LMAMS is designed to hit target within 3.28 ft (1 meter) radius, at maximum speed of 80 – 100 mph (35-44m/sec). This accuracy matches the warhead’s effectiveness to kill or incapacitate personnel in the open or on soft skinned vehicles, within a two meter radius from the point of detonation.  The current LMAMS payload includes a lethal warhead and associated fuzing and electronic safe and arm device (ESAD). The user has expressed a strong need for a non-lethal alternative warhead for these munitions.

The LMAMS is designed to provide the warfighter with a “magic bullet”.  It can rapidly provide a powerful, but expendable miniature flying Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) package on a Beyond Line-of-Sight (BLOS) target within minutes. This miniature, remotely-piloted or autonomous platform can either glide or propel itself via quiet electric propulsion, providing real-time GPS coordinates and video for information gathering, targeting, or feature/object recognition. The vehicle’s small size and quiet motor make it difficult to detect, recognize, and track even at very close range. The LMAMS is fully scalable and can be launched from a variety of air and ground platforms.

As a general guide line, the payload constraints for the non-lethal warhead are:

Size: Should fit into the volume: 1.6 x 2.3 x 1.7 inches.

Weight: Not to exceed 380 grams.

Cost:  The non-lethal, modular warhead cost should not exceed $500 per unit for 500 units.

Fuzing Mechanism:  Fuzing will be based on no more information than available to the lethal warhead. Fuzing may be based an existing LMAMS mechanism, the details of which will be provided, or on a new fuzing mechanism, if required by the design of the non-lethal alternative. If the existing fuzing mechanism is used, then only the warhead volume described above will be available. If a new fuzing mechanism is required, then the volume of the warhead above plus the volume of the fuzing mechanism defined below will be available for the non-lethal warhead and fuzing mechanism. The volume and weight of the fuzing mechanism are:

Volume: Should fit into the volume: 1.2 x 1.2 x 2.1 inches.

Weight: No not to exceed 96 grams.

Cost: Not to exceed $500 per unit for 500 units.

Non-lethal mechanisms to be considered may include but are not limited to: mechanical, such as rubber balls; acoustic; chemical; electrical; or dazzle.

The non-lethal warhead should be effective against a single individual or up to 5 individuals within a radius of 4.25 meters.

PHASE I: Research and develop non-lethal warhead mechanisms that can be configured within the given size and weight constraints. Determine and document the effectiveness of each of the potential approaches considered. Perform trade studies to select the most effective solution within the given constraints. The output of Phase I will be a preliminary non-lethal warhead and fuzing design with effectiveness predictions based on analysis and simulation. A report documenting the preliminary design and analysis will be delivered to the Government.   Simulation codes will be documented and delivered.

PHASE II: Develop, demonstrate and document a breadboard design of the non-lethal warhead technology selected in Phase I. The output of Phase II will be a breadboard design which conforms to the LMAM interface. The non-lethal effectiveness of the Phase II breadboard will be demonstrated. The LMAMS interface conformity will be demonstrated.  All findings and results will be documented in a report deliverable to the Government.

PHASE III: The final embodiment of the warhead developed in Phase II will be a flight hardened, modular device, which will be flight tested on either an LMAMS or other similar government furnished miniature organic precision munition. At this phase of development, which will result in a TRL level 5 design, warhead effectiveness and flight worthiness will be demonstrated.  Potential commercial applications might include, but are not limited to: crowd control for local law enforcement; border protection for Homeland Security; or temporary incapacitation of non violent criminals for local SWAT teams and/or law enforcement.  A final report documenting the Phase III designs, findings, and test reports will be delivered to the Government.


1.  UAS News. (2011, January 1).  Lethal Miniature Aerial Munition System (LMAMS) to be deployed soon?  Retrieved November 16, 2011, from

2.  Defense Update.  (2011, April 1).  US Air Force to Develop Micro-UAV Killer Drones for the Special Operations Command.  Retrieved November 16, 2011, from

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