February 23, 2011
THE US army is planning to field “rubber bullets” for machine guns. Military officials claim the ammunition will allow them to more effectively quell violent protests without loss of life, but human rights campaigners are alarmed by the new weapon.
The final design for the XM1044 round has not been selected, according to an order placed on the Federal Business Opportunities website last month, but the Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate has been working on a ring aerofoil projectile for some years. The round is a hollow plastic cylinder 40 millimetres across, looking something like a short toilet-paper roll. In flight its shape generates lift, giving it a longer range.