You may have heard of non-lethal weapons like Tasers, plastic bullets, flash bangs and smoke grenades. But there’s a new kid on the block that has taken the playground concept of stink bombs to the next level. Skunk is like a grown-up stink bomb on steroids. It’s been used in Israel, but it’s now coming to the U.S.
Both the Israeli police and the Israel Defense Forces began deploying the technology several years ago and it is now available in the U.S. through Bethesda, Md.-based Mistral Security.
Non-lethal weapons are deployed by the military and law enforcement to help suppress hostile or threatening behavior without killing the target.
Skunk’s odor is so overwhelming it drives rioters or insurgents away – and they will stay away. In an escalating riot, Skunk could be unleashed to bring it to an immediate halt.
What does it smell like?
Apparently, Skunk eclipses the stench of its namesake animal.
Some journalists exposed to Skunk have described as a combination of rotting meat, very dirty unwashed socks and an open sewer.
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The stench is so powerful it drives people to run away and stay away. Reuters described the odor like a “chunk of rotting corpse from a stagnant sewer, placing it in a blender and spraying the filthy liquid in your face.”
But here’s the kicker, if you’ve been Skunked then everyone you encounter over the next few days will know just where you’ve been. The stench sticks to you like glue. Unless you have access to the secret removal soap then it can’t be removed. Insurgents or criminals simply stink until it wears off.
And there are no counter-measures. Holding your nose is definitely not going to defeat Skunk.
What if you’ve been skunked?
Mistral recommends using the Skunk decontaminate soap to neutralize the vile stench.
If you don’t have the soap, the stench dissipates over time. But the more concentration you receive the longer it will last.
While the smell does linger in the air and may cling to you, the company says it has no long-term effects. The company says that clothes that have been Skunked can be used after washing.
How harmless is this non lethal?
Skunk is water based and biodegradable. The liquid could be used with any device that sprays water from a water gun through to a water cannon.
Made by Odortec, the company says it uses 100% food-grade ingredients. It is designed to be environmentally friendly and harmless to people.
Skunk grenade. (Mistral Security)
Skunk is not flammable and can even be used to put out a fire. Although the smell is gruesome, the liquid is said to be perfectly safe to consume.
How is it deployed?
Mistral Security makes Skunk available in several deployment methods – from grenades through to fire truck level industrial spray. 40mm Skunk grenades can also be deployed by hand tossing or with a 12 gauge shot gun.
On the mega scale, the Skid Sprayer has a 50-gallon tank and sprays Skunk over 60 feet at a rate of 7 gallons per minute.
The MK-20 disposable canister holds 20 ounces of Skunk and shoots the foul smelling liquid up to about 24 feet. The MK-46 canister can be refilled with Skunk and re-pressurized with standard N2 cartridges. It holds 60 ounces of Skunk and has a range of 40 feet.
Skunk deployment costs far less than any special riot control equipment or compliance weapon alternatives, according to Odortec. The company also believes that Skunk deployment means fewer police officers will be required to restore order in large areas.
Where will Skunk be unleashed?
Skunk could be used by military, law enforcement and homeland security. The technology, for example, it could be used at border crossings, correctional facilities, demonstrations and sit-ins.
It has been deployed in the Middle East by Israel against the violent protests over two demolished building. In the U.S. police departments have reportedly been investigating its use for policing civil unrest.
Ballet dancer turned defense specialist Allison Barrie has traveled around the world covering the military, terrorism, weapons advancements and life on the front line. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @Allison_Barrie.