Battelle is an Ohio-based independent research organization (in fact the world’s largest) that specializes in, among other things, national security innovations. Predictably, they have contracts with a number of government agencies (Department of Homeland Security) and security forces (specifically, special operations, first responders and seafarers). Recently they “reinvented” the pneumatically powered grappling gun for the Navy, a tool that has proven indispensible for our seamen (and coincidently was also Battelle designed).
This new grappling gun, called the Tactical Air Initiated Launch (get it? T.A.I.L.) system, is exactly what you think it is and a lot like the Navy’s old one, just “one louder”: it fires the hook and line further, higher, more reliably and more quietly than any such device in existence.
The system is intended to lend support to search and seizure and fire rescue operations and a host of other next level activities. Essentially a compressed air cannon, the gun can launch a titanium hook and Kevlar line 100 feet in the air and up to about 60 feet away. It also, amazingly, costs less to manufacture then the old system.
System designer Jim LaBine said of his creation, “The TAIL system lets the user fire a grappling hook without the noise, explosives, or safety issues of powder-driven units. That’s important for special operations but the system is adaptable and can be used in many applications.”
A universal theme in modern weaponry is simplicity and it may be the TAIL systems greatest asset. Because the gun relies on a simple mechanism that’s simple to operate, it’s low maintenance, safe for the user and overall incredibly reliable. Further, because it is really just a highly effective air cannon, the gun will toss just about any item you can squeeze into the barrel including life vests for rescue units, debris to clear mines and electronic equipment.
If you’re lucky, you can catch the TAIL system featured on reruns of MythBusters on the Discovery Channel and at the bottom of this page (if I recall rope climbing got the best of them) or The Military Channel’s Weaponology.
For more information about Battelle and the TAIL system contact Katy Delaney at (614) 424-7208 or visit their website here.