Pentagon Announces New COIN Weapons Program
Having cancelled its two-decade old $29 Billion Comanche helicopter development program, the Army announced a revolutionary design shift in accord with its need for rapid-response, terrain-appropriate weapons systems optimized for counter-insurgency operations. One of the first weapons slated for prototyping and development is the LOADD-3, Light Operational Active Deployment Designate, better known as a "TransDonk," or weaponized donkey. Litton, General Dynamics, and Boeing are already involved in the development process and are expected to formally submit early prototypes for testing.
The potential for operational advantages provided by the new animals is high, as they are pre-armed with an intelligent avoidance system and a generally superior field profile over other options, as stated in the Counter-Insurgency Field Manual FM 3-05.213:
Mules are intelligent and possess a strong sense of self-preservation. A packer cannot make a mule do something if the mule thinks it will get hurt, no matter how much persuasion is used…. many people confuse this trait with stubbornness. ... Elephants are considered an endangered species and as such should not be used by U.S. military personnel… Elephants are not the easygoing, kind, loving creatures that people believe them to be. They are, of course, not evil either."With the proper genetic modifications and enhanced tractile prosthethics, we foresee a unit able to carry at least 175 lbs. over 20-25 miles of rough terrain per day, coming on line sometime before 2012," a Boeing spokesman said. While declining to discuss specific estimates or the new weapon's more classified performance capabilities, the Pentagon is hoping to keep procurement costs below $2.5 million per unit.