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03 March 2024

Idex sees rise in queries for non-lethal arms

By VM Sathish

Exhibitors of non-lethal weapons are witnessing an increase in queries at the International Defence Exhibition (Idex) in Abu Dhabi.

Tear gas granades, smoke grenades, pepper sprayers, non-lethal ammunition, rubber bullets and other riot-control systems are in great demand, suppliers at the exhibition told 'Emirates24|7'. They, however, warned that improper use of the same without proper training can be fatal.

Colonel Edison Pereira, Training Manager, Condor Non-Lethal Technologies, a Brazilian company supplying non-lethal weapons to 34 countries, including Middle East, said the company is getting more trade inquiries from police forces.

Condor is exhibiting 130 non-lethal products at Idex.

Pereira said: “There is an increase in trade inquiries from the Middle East. Our riot control weapons such as pepper sprayers,  non-lethal armaments and ammunition, colour-smoke bullets and tear gas have been used in Egypt and other places in the region. We are also seeing an increase in demand for training. Even though these weapons are not meant to kill, its misuse or use without proper training can cause death and permanent disability of victims."

"Now we supply these weapons to Egypt, Tunisia, Bahrain, Jordan, Algeria. The priority is to give proper training for police forces on how to use these non-lethal weapons judiciously," he added.

The most widely used non-lethal weapon is pepper sprayer that will cause eye irritation and watering that will last for about 30 minutes,” Pereira added. “While smaller units can control 10 to 15 people, bigger ones can be launched from bigger launchers to control huge crowd,” he added.

For instance, AM470 is a soft-punch-impact ammunition for short distance. The 37/40 mm catridge with a soft-punch expandable impact projectile is developed for use by riot police. The objective is to detain or disperse crowd without causing permanent injury. This soft ammunition should not be fired against head, neck or lower abdomen and improper use without training can cause death. The product can be legally used by qualified and trained person, explained Pereira.

The company has also added electronic devices to allow proper accountability in case of misuse of weapons, he said.

Similarly, GL30 Ballerina is a self-propelled grenade capable of random movements that can create large volume of tear gas smoke in a wider area. Used in riot control it operates through the saturation of the environment, by generating an intense cloud of tear gas. During the tear gas emission, the grenade makes random movements over the ground, enlarging the smoke affected area and avoiding the devolution of the grenade against the troop. “Upon launching of the grenade, after removing the safety pin, a triggering system strikes the percussion fuze  and initiates the functioning of the delay column provoking the burning of the CS tear gas charge," he said.

Seven Bang, another riot control grenade has stunning effect caused by the detonation of seven explosive charges, allowing efficient police action. "It must be launched at a minimum distance of 10 meters from the crowd. If used in an improper manner, it can cause death and serious injury,” he added.