- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 23, 2016

The U.S. Marine Corps is attempting a unique experiment that pairs the deadly — but typically loud — fire power of an infantry battalion with silence.

Maj. Gen. John Love of 2nd Marine Division out of Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, is gathering data on the way suppressors improve battlefield communication and efficiency. Early testing at Marine Corps Air-Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms indicates that suppressing everything from M4 rifles to .50 caliber machine guns can dramatically assist U.S. warfighters.

“What we’ve found so far is it revolutionizes the way we fight,” Gen. Love recently said at the Marine Corps Association Ground Dinner, Military.com reported Tuesday. “It used to be a squad would be dispersed out over maybe 100 yards, so the squad leader couldn’t really communicate with the members at the far end because of all the noise of the weapons. Now they can actually just communicate, and be able to command and control and effectively direct those fires.”

Training exercises using the new approach have already been conducted by Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 2nd Marines. Officials ultimately plan to include weapons systems like the M249 light machine gun and M240G medium machine gun in the experiment.

“It increases their ability to command and control, to coordinate with each other,” Chief Warrant Officer 5 Christian Wade told the defense website. “They shoot better, because they can focus more, and they get more discipline with their fire. […] “When I show how much overmatch we gain … it will have sold itself.”

The current price tag for lawmakers to consider stands at $700,000 per infantry battalion.

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The warrant officer added that infantry units set to deploy in the coming months have suppressors on all rifles, including M27 infantry automatic rifles.

• Douglas Ernst can be reached at dernst@washingtontimes.com.

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