Safety fears as US demonstrates crowd control heat-ray weapon
By Ian Sample | guardian.co.uk
820th SFG evaluates non-lethal weapon - Moody Airmen test new, nonlethal method of repelling enemy
The 820th Security Forces Group is currently evaluating the Active Denial System, a non-lethal weapon designed to engage and repel human targets by projecting a beam of energy that creates an intolerable heating sensation on the skin. ADS can potentially give deployed Airmen another option to employ in the Global War on Terrorism. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Gina Chiaverotti)
Images from: moody.af.mil
How the wave device works
It looks like a table top stuck on a Humvee, but to the US military it is a revolutionary new weapon, a controversial heat-ray destined to change the face of conflict by dispersing mobs, protecting military bases and sorting friend from foe without inflicting injuries.
Called Silent Guardian, the prototype fires a high-intensity beam of millimetre waves, inflicting a burning sensation like a light bulb pressed against the skin. After 12 years in development it has been demonstrated in public for the first time, at Moody air force base in Georgia.
For the US defence department it marks the beginning of an era of "non-lethal, directed energy, counter-personnel" weapons, intended to cause temporary pain instead of killing or maiming. But critics yesterday raised fears that the weapon could cause serious, even life-threatening burns through accident or misuse.
During the demonstration a two-man crew used built-in rangefinders to target volunteers playing the part of angry rioters 500 metres away. Those hit by the beam jumped out of the way immediately to escape the sudden flash of heat.
The beam has a range of up to 1km, 10 times that of other non-lethal weapons such as plastic bullets or beanbag-firing guns. The waves penetrate clothing, but travel less than half a millimetre into the skin, where they cause water molecules to heat up. Within seconds, the beam heats the skin to around 50C (122F). Military officials plan to use the so-called Active Denial System to keep would-be attackers from approaching military installations or navy ships in dock, or for repelling mobs. It may also be useful in sorting combatants from bystanders, who are more likely to quickly leave the scene.
Speaking from the Pentagon yesterday, Lieutenant-Colonel Brian Maka said the device, which is not expected to be ready for deployment until 2010, was built to "stop, deter and turn back an adversary at a distance that lessens the potential for causing injury".
But Neil Davison, an expert in non-lethal weapons at the Disarmament Research Centre, Bradford, said that in tests so far volunteers had been allowed a cooling off period after being hit before being targeted again. "There's no way of guaranteeing people won't be targeted for longer in a real situation," he said.
Jürgen Altmann, an expert in military technology at Dortmund University, found that if the beam is tracked on a person for longer the skin temperature can quickly rise above 55C, and begin to burn.
"Even if they build in a mechanism that limits it to work for only a few seconds at a time, people can immediately be re-targeted," he said. "If more than 20% of their body receives second or third degree burns, it's potentially life-threatening."
According to papers released under freedom of information requests, mishaps during trials have caused blistering at least six times and one second degree burn when the beam was fired on too high a setting. According to the US military, the risk of injury is less than 0.1%.
Also see: 820th SFG evaluates non-lethal weapon
Article from: http://www.guardian.co.uk/usa/story/0,,1999141,00.html
Radio Frequency, Active Denial & Psych Weapons
Vehicle-Mounted Active Denial System (V-MADS)
Raytheon beam controls mobs
Electromagnetic Weapons, Mind Control & New Technology
Latest News from our Front Page
Amid Russia tensions, US nuclear bombers to conduct military drills in Sweden
The Pentagon is planning to send nuclear bombers to Sweden for a military exercise next month amid growing tensions with Russia over the Ukraine crisis.
The warplanes, the B-52 Stratofortress, will participate in a naval exercise on June 13, Swedish general Karl Engelbrektson said.
They are set to fly from the United States nonstop and simulate a drop of anti-ship mines near ...
'Netanyahu to US: Give 50% more money, we'll shut up'
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is asking the United States to provide Tel Aviv 50 percent more money for weapons and âweâll shut upâ on Iran nuclear talks, an author and investigative journalist in Philadelphia says.
Dave Lindorff made the remarks in a phone interview with Press TV on Wednesday while commenting on a report which says Israel has asked Washington ...
Britain To Outlaw "Hate" and "Extremism"
UK home secretary Theresa May : "But what we're talking about is they key values that underline our society and are being undermined by the extremists. Values like democracy, a belief in democracy, a belief in the rule of law. A belief in tolerance ...eh... for other people. Equality and acceptance for other people's faith and religions.
One of the great ...
Killer robots will leave humans 'utterly defenceless' warns professor
Robots, called LAWS â lethal autonomous weapons systems â will be able to kill without human intervention.
Killer robots which are being developed by the US military âwill leave humans utterly defencelessâ, an academic has warned.
Two programmes commissioned by the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) are seeking to create drones which can track and kill targets even when ...
Here's how much corporations paid US senators to fast-track the TPP bill
Critics of the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership are unlikely to be silenced by an analysis of the flood of money it took to push the pact over its latest hurdle.
A decade in the making, the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is reaching its climax and as Congress hotly debates the biggest trade deal in a generation, its backers have turned on the ...
|More News » |