BAGHDAD Ñ The U.S. Marine Corps may have what could be a
low-technology solution to roadside bombs planted by insurgents in Iraq.
The 1st Marine Division has examined the use of the M-79 grenade
launcher to neutralize improvised explosive devices, the military's name for
roadside bombs. The method calls for a soldier to fire the M-79 Ñ
introduced into the military in 1961 Ñ toward the suspected IED, which would
create sufficient vibrations to detonate the roadside bomb.
"The idea for countering the IEDs has been around," CWO Charles
Colleton, a gunner for 1st Marine Division, told MIddle East Newsline. "But the problem has been
coming up with the correct system. Using a weapon system to detonate mines
has been around. We're just finding out if this works."
The Marine solution was reported amid development of a range of advanced
technologies meant to detect and neutralize IEDs. The technologies included
the use of electronic jammers to either detonate or block signals. The
method has failed with IEDs that are detonated by wire.
"It takes shock to create shock," Colleton said of the M-79. "We have to
get the explosion close enough to set it off. We're trying to see if it
works, something that smacks it so hard that it detonates it."
The M-79 was overhauled to ensure an accuracy at 200 meters. The
single-shot weapon fires a 40 mm grenade.
Commanders have held trials to test the ease with which marines could
fire the M-79, which looks like a smaller version of a shotgun. During the
tests, Marines reported accurate hits within 12 rounds as the grenades
landed well within the five meter lethal radius.
CWO 4 Rod Fiene, ordinance officer for 1st Marine Division, said the
M-79 was not the only solution explored by the Marines to defeat the
IED threat. Fiene said the so-called blooper gun could comprise a low-tech
"The only thing we've looked at to defeat it has been high-tech to this
point," Fiene said. "Maybe something as simple as a 40 mm grenade might be