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Battelle Donates Grappling Hook Gun to Navy Seal UDT Museum


Posted on May 25, 2012

FT. PIERCE, FL., 25 May, 2012—How do you climb a mountain that’s rolling and pitching in the dark? When the Navy SEALS needed a way to board a ship quietly and quickly, Battelle’s Tactical Air Initiated Launch (TAIL) system helped them get the job done.

It’s one of many ways the history of Battelle and the Navy SEALS is intertwined. Whether it’s developing tools to improve fast roping or tactical climbing gear for challenging situations, the two entities have worked together for years. In acknowledging that relationship, officials at the National Navy UDT-SEAL Museum accepted a TAIL system donated by Battelle Friday.

The TAIL system represents an improvement to a longtime Navy staple—the plummet gun—that had been used for decades. The pneumatically powered TAIL system is used to launch a titanium grappling hook towing a Kevlar line. But it does it higher, further, more quietly and more reliably than its predecessor. It also can launch a climbing ladder.

The system has been featured on Man vs. WildMythbusters and the Military Channel.

Museum officials are currently working on designing exhibits that will be showcased in the new 8,000 square-foot expansion. World-renowned museum planning and design firm Ralph Appelbaum & Associates has been hired to sift through the many artifacts currently housed in museum storage and help decide how they will be presented to the 60,000 people who annually visit the popular museum. The intent is to chronicle Navy SEAL history by using historical artifacts along with the latest interactive technologies to create a highly effective learning environment.

Battelle also donated a Fast Rope Descend Device (FRDD) which it designed for the kit currently used by canine handlers to safely descent down a fast rope. There are approximately 250 FRDD kits in use today.

“Battelle is proud to support the Navy SEALS as well as other special operations forces,” said Mike McCarthy, Battelle Special Technology Program Manager and former SEAL. “We are always ready to work with operators to build hardware with cutting-edge technologies that ensure mission success.”

“This is a truly unique device, and one that is missing from our collection, said Ruth McSween, Museum Interim Executive Director & Curator. “This is something that we would probably not otherwise be able to get, were it not for the generosity of Battelle.”

The National Navy UDT-SEAL Museum is the only museum dedicated solely to preserving the history of the Navy SEALs and their predecessors, including the Underwater Demolition Teams, Naval Combat Demolition Units, Office of Strategic Services Maritime Units and Amphibious Scouts and Raiders. Located in Fort Pierce, Florida—the birthplace of the Navy Frogman—the Museum promotes public education by providing the opportunity to explore the history of the Navy SEALs in an atmosphere of respect and honor.

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