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Battelle Designs Innovative Grappling Hook Technology

Posted on Nov 18, 2010


COLUMBUS, OH., 18 November, 2010—Who can resist the Batman-like allure of shooting a grappling hook and line allowing you to cross a gorge or scale a building? Those in the special operations, first responder and maritime communities see this as a must-have tool.

Battelle has developed a successor to a longtime Navy staple—a pneumatically powered grappling gun that deploys a hook and line higher, further, more quietly, and more reliably than its predecessor.

The system has been featured on the popular TV show MythBusters and The Military Channel’s Weaponology and continues to captivate those who see it in action.

The Tactical Air Initiated Launch (TAIL) system is used to launch a titanium grappling hook towing a Kevlar line for use in Visit Board Search and Seizure (VBSS) operations.  It also can be used for fire rescue operations, life vest deployment, or other activities.  The TAIL system, using compressed air to launch the hook, can clear an obstacle up to 100 feet high and up to 60 feet away. “The TAIL system lets the user fire a grappling hook without the noise, explosives, or safety issues of powder-driven units,” said Jim LaBine, the TAIL system designer.  “That’s important for special operations but the system is adaptable and can be used in many applications.”

Besides enhanced performance at reduced cost, the TAIL system’s simple, rugged design boosts safety and reliability with the advantage of low maintenance.  Its simplicity has another benefit: the system can throw any object that fits into its barrel.  Potential uses include:

• Tactical hook and line or hook and ladder deployment
• Line deployment for ship to ship re-supply
• Line deployment for water or fire rescue
• Life vest deployment for Coast Guard and rescue units 
• Mine clearance
• Delivery of sensitive electronic payloads

About Battelle

As the world’s largest independent research and development organization, Battelle provides innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing needs through its four global businesses:  Laboratory Management; National Security; Health and Life Sciences; and Energy, Environment and Material Sciences. It advances scientific discovery and application by conducting $6.2 billion in global R&D annually through contract research, laboratory management and technology commercialization. 

Headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, Battelle oversees 22,000 employees in more than 130 locations worldwide, including eight national laboratories for which Battelle has a significant management role on behalf of the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and the United Kingdom.

Battelle also is one of the nation’s leading charitable trusts focusing on societal and economic impact and actively supporting and promoting science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education.

Media Contacts

For more information contact Katy Delaney at (614) 424-7208 or, or T.R. Massey at (614) 424-5544 or



Media Contacts

Katy Delaney
Director, Media Relations
Office: 1.614.424.7208

T.R. Massey

Senior Media Specialist
Office: 1.614.424.5544