A new, reloadable flashbang with a digital fuse promises to give law enforcement officers and war-fighters a crucial tactical advantage when it comes to close-quarters combat (CQC).
Liberty Dynamic has been working on the Enhanced Diversionary Device (EDD) for more than four years. According to the manufacturer, their flashbangs are superior to current products for a number of reasons. First, they are reloadable, which reduces overall operating costs of units. Second, since they are reloadable, they can be used more during training, thereby maximizing their effectiveness on target. Finally, they’re safer and more reliable. According to the manufacturer, the flashbang’s “low volatility energetic material and very low fragmentation potential should reduce costly lawsuits and insurance claims resulting from improperly deployed or flawed devices.” This last detail would mostly concern law enforcement officers rather than the military: Imagine a terrorist filing a lawsuit after his hideout was stormed by commandos.
Additionally, the EDD’s payload can be adjusted depending on the situation. As of now, Liberty Dynamic offers four payload options: Active Shooter; Convoy, Equipment, & Aircraft Security; Crowd Control; and Perimeter Security.
In January, the flashbang became available for pre-order. The Colorado-based company expects to fill orders starting this month. The primary customers for the EDD are law enforcement agencies and departments seeking to enhance their Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) teams. But the reloadable flashbang could also interest the military.
John M. Chapman, chief executive officer and co-founder of Liberty Dynamic, told National Defence that the Air Force gave the company a small business innovation research grant to experiment with arming drones with the EDD. Moreover, the Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate, which is responsible for the non-lethal arsenal of the U.S. military, has also shown interest in the device.
The purpose of a flashbang is to distract and disorient the target, which would give the assaulters a few precious seconds to gain the upper hand. CQC is notoriously complex and mentally demanding. Friendly and enemy targets are often separated by only a few inches. Consequently, the assaulting team benefits greatly from the momentary distraction. On the downside, however, flashbangs can cause physical damage to the hostages or assaulters and material damage to the target building. Any attempt to “cook-off” a flashbang—that is, to pull the pin but hold it a few seconds before throwing it so it detonates immediately once thrown—would result in fingers lost. With regard to buildings, flashbangs could cause a fire inside a room full of hostages that would further complicate the rescue operation. The Iranian embassy hostage rescue operation in 1980 by the British Special Air Service (SAS) is a good example of this. A flashbang caused the heavy curtains inside one of the points of entry to catch fire, frustrating the rescue operation.