7th European Symposium on Non-Lethal Weapons

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7468530_sJune 03-05, 2013

The use of non lethal weapons (NLW) in Israel is lower than the standard in many countries and the forecast is for a major change.

Some twenty years have already passed since the earliest deployments of NLW, and these equipments represent an important tool for most of the military and law enforcement personnel. Yet, despite many significant success stories and results, there are great uncertainties and, generally speaking, concerns among the public opinion, the media, and, as consequence, the policy makers, regarding the effectiveness vs. the risks. Technological developments are often slower than expected and in many cases forecasts and promises were not adequately fulfilled, causing growing uncertainties on the next achievements.

The 2013 symposium will build on previous symposia and follow similar holistic topics. The overarching theme will be to examine how fielded non lethal technologies have performed in real operational environments, such as the ongoing civil unrest in the West and military involvement in parts of Africa and Asia.

This will provide a valuable opportunity to hear from, and discuss the lessons learnt across the many disciplines of this subject from a range of subject matter experts and operational practitioners. This will identify where gaps in capability still exist to steer future research. In addition the symposium will examine how progress in emerging technology areas seeks to fill known capability gaps such as effects at range. The symposium also intends to examine the emergence and use of non lethal weapons in a criminal content, both from offensive and defensive viewpoints.

The Symposium includes topics on current and advanced technologies, operational and tactical aspects, required capabilities, legal and public acceptance, effects on target as well as the evaluation of effects. The listed topics should only be considered as guiding principles.

Current non-lethal weapons have been developed to work at ranges typical for crowd riot control situations; the new operational challenges indicate a need for non-lethal capabilities with much longer ranges. Besides this, accuracy and effectiveness at such distances pose a significant challenge.

The availability of NLWs has increased, resulting in greater choice but also a need to carry more equipment to exploit this capability. The current challenge is to continue offering these options – or even to improve and expand them – and provide scalable effects within one weapon. Emerging trends in development include adaptive NLWs, platforms, handheld weapons and munitions.

There are still situations in which NLWs are inadequate to fill the capability gap, for example in preventing suspected suicide bomber attacks.