Infantry: September 18, 2004

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The U.S. Army and Marines have successfully used the VLAD (Vehicle Lightweight Arresting Device) device to stop civilian vehicles that ignore warnings to halt when approaching a checkpoint or roadblock. VLAD is a 30 pound, 8x26 foot nylon net, with with two rows of tungsten spikes attached to the edges. The net is spread out in areas troops do not want vehicles to enter. For example, VLAD nets would be laid down in such a way that vehicles are forced to turn (and thus slow down) one or more times before reaching the troops. If a vehicles came on it high speed, it would have to go over the VLAD net, which would puncture the vehicles tires with the spikes, which are attached to a heavy duty nylon netting which then automatically wraps itself around the vehicles axle and brings the vehicle to a halt. Each VLAD net costs $5,000, and is destroyed each time it halts a vehicle. The marines first used one in action in Haiti this past Spring, and they have since been sent to Iraq. For vehicles as large as a light truck (or hummer), VLAD will safely stop the vehicle within 50 feet. Wire cutters are needed to remove the net, and new tires will be required as well. The army has bought 500 VLAD units, while the marines have purchased fifty. The troops like VLAD, as Iraqi drivers quickly pick up on how it works, and dont even try to run roadblocks when they see it. The troops like it, because they often fire on vehicles trying to run a roadblock, which usually results in dead civilians and thus more Iraqis who are really, really mad at the troops. The loss of a few tires wont make Iraqis happy either, but at least they will still be alive. VLAD was developed by a British firm and was originally known as "X-Net".

 


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