Military Tries To Cut Through The Noise Of War

Source: NPR July 26, 2017 5:11 AM ET Heard on Morning Edition

U.S. military units have long used technology like night vision goggles to enhance their sense of sight.

Now they’re trying to get a battlefield edge with their ears, too.

The Marine Corps is experimenting with quieted-down weapons and electronic hearing enhancements that could reshape the soundscape of warfare. They want to minimize some sounds and amplify others to get more control over what they and their enemies hear.

About 2,000 Marines have been testing carbines fitted with sound suppressors. The devices have long been used by special operations units, and the Marines want to expand their use into the mainstream infantry.

The primary goal is to reduce the deafening, chaotic roar of firefight noise so that front-line commanders can communicate with their troops.

“The simplest communication is extremely difficult,” said Sgt. Dakota Fox, as he supervised a quartet of young Marines on a Camp Lejeune,

It’s even more of a challenge to communicate in an actual firefight, Fox said, when a dozen Marines or more might be spread across 150 yards, shooting rifles and machine guns at once.

Equipping the weapons with suppressors — cylindrical canisters on the end of the barrel — changes the volume and texture of the sound.

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