Air Force Experimenting With Electro-Brain Stimulation to Increase Alertness in Troops

May 09, 2015



Disclaimer: This list is NOT all inclusive. US Special Operations have dozens of firearms at their disposal. This list is just a sampling and is arranged in NO particular order.

     FN SCAR

The Special Operations Forces Combat Assault Rifle (SCAR) is a modular rifle made by FN Herstal (FNH) for the United States Special Operations Command (SOCOM) to satisfy the requirements of the SCAR competition. This family of rifles consist of two main types. The SCAR-L, for "light", is chambered in the 5.56×45mm NATO cartridge and the SCAR-H, for "heavy", fires 7.62×51mm NATO. Both are available in Long Barrel and Close Quarters Combat variants.

10 Guns of the Special Forces

10 Guns of the Special Forces

10 Guns of the Special Forces

Pictured Above: FN MK 20 MOD 0 Sniper Support Rifle (SSR)
Cartridge
  • 5.56×45mm NATO(SCAR-L)
  • 7.62×51mm NATO(SCAR-H)
Action Gas-operated (short-stroke gas piston), rotating bolt
Rate of fire 625 rounds/min
Muzzle velocity
  • SCAR-L: 2,870 ft/s (870 m/s) (M855)
  • SCAR-L: 2,630 ft/s (800 m/s) (Mk 262)
  • SCAR-H: 2,342 ft/s (714 m/s) (M80)
Effective firing range
  • SCAR-L: 300 m (330 yd) (Short), 500 m (550 yd) (Standard), 600 m (660 yd) (Long)
  • SCAR-H: 300 m (330 yd) (Short), 600 m (660 yd) (Standard), 800 m (870 yd) (Long)
Feed system
  • SCAR-L: STANAG box magazine
  • SCAR-H/SSR: 20-round box magazine
Sights Iron sights or various optics

FULL FN SCAR SPECS HERE

 

  Words by Wes O'Donnell.

It is common knowledge that members of the military are often expected to put in long, countless hours of work while remaining sharp and alert regardless of their body’s desire to shut down and recuperate.  The growing need for increased security measures has required troops to spend many hours monitoring and analyzing surveillance and intelligence data which can prove to be mentally exhausting.  Multiple cups of coffee and energy drinks have provided some assistance in the past, but now a new option is being put to the test.  Low level electric brain stimulation, originally designed for the treatment of depression and other brain disorders, is now being tested on groups of volunteers participating in studies at the Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

Air Force Experimenting With Electro-Brain Stimulation to Increase Alertness in Troops

Air Force going Total Recall-Style. Picture Courtesy Carolco Pictures/ Studio Canal.  

The intent of the study is to determine if this stimulation has the ability to increase the alertness and attentiveness of military members who have been deprived of sleep for various periods of time.  This procedure is noninvasive and only healthy troops are allowed in the study groups.  So far testing has shown an increase in overall alertness and acuity.  The study is also examining the effects that stimulation of the brain that would require to be performed regularly will not cause harm or damage to the troops.  So far the only adverse effects noted have been slight irritation caused by the adhesion of the electrodes to the skin and mild headaches that disappear after short periods of time.  When evaluation the results of the study it appears that in the near future it may become standard issue for troops in specified job areas to receive electrodes as part of the provided gear. 

The need to perform this study has come about due to the changes in the way conflicts are handled.  It used to be the countries with the most force and strength would win the wars.  Now, most battles are won by quickly and correctly sorting through provided intelligence data, formulating attack and defense strategies and implementing them.  Often these tasks are performed with high tech computers and machinery.  The soldiers behind the scenes have just as much effect on the outcome of the battles as those on the frontlines.  Not only do soldiers have to be physically alert and ready but mentally as well.

Air Force Experimenting With Electro-Brain Stimulation to Increase Alertness in Troops 

Photo courtesy of galleryhip.com

In the past, use of electrotherapy treatments has been looked at as harsh and even cruel.  Doses were poorly monitored and often excessive causing severe side effects such as memory loss and bone fractures.  The therapy that is used in the present day is very closely monitored.   Doses are controlled and administration is precise, stimulating the intended portion of the brain to achieve the desired result.  In essence, it causes nerve impulses to occur more rapidly.  These techniques have receive support from organizations such as the American Psychiatric Association, the National Institute of Mental Health and the U.S. Surgeon General in the treatment of various psychiatric disorders including major depression.