PepperBall has been awarded a contract with the U.S. Army valued at $650,000 to provide Variable Kinetic System (VKS) non-lethal launchers designed for personal-protection use by Soldiers in the field. The purchase was made in support of U.S. Forces-Afghanistan Joint Force Protection Directorate. The U.S.-made VKS has the same fire-control system and look and feel of a standard-issue M-4 and was tested and recommended by members of the National Tactical Officers Association.
“We are truly honored the U.S. Army has selected PepperBall’s VKS to use as its non-lethal protection in its mission to defend the United States,” said Ron Johnson, CEO of United Tactical Systems. “Our VKS platform was the only non-lethal source that was capable of complying to the U.S. Army’s standards.”
The launcher offers a Dual Feed System, in which a user can quickly switch from “Hopper Mode” to “Magazine Mode” during an operation. The former offers a capacity of 180 rounds and the latter 10 or 15.
The VXR projectiles compatible with the launcher are designed for high-intensity/crowd control and are effective to 50 yards. Filled with a proprietary irritant, they produce a strong kinetic impact and burst on contact to release a debilitating cloud that affects eyes, nose and respiratory system.
PepperBall products are in use by more than 5,000 agencies worldwide, including the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard. The company, which originated under a 1996 DARPA program, sold exclusively to law-enforcement and military agencies until recently, when it branched out with a LifeLite product now available to the public. Its effective range is a more personal-defense-applicable 60 feet, although it packs a chemically identical, less-lethal projectile. The three-in-one unit has an LED flashlight, but when the launcher’s safety is disengaged a laser activates for aiming. Read more about the LifeLite Flashlauncher here.