It's been talked about for years.
But the Pentagon's microwave-like pain
ray may finally be headed
to Iraq, Inside the Army reports.
Developed by the Air Force, the so-called "Active
Denial System" (ADS) fires out milimeter waves -- a sort of cousin
of microwaves, in the 95 GHz range. The invisible beams penetrate just a 64th
of inch beneath the skin. But that's deep enough to heat up the water inside
a person. Which is enough to cause excruciating pain.
Seconds later, people have to run away. And that causes mobs to break up in
a hurry. It's no wonder, then, why less-lethal weapon guru Charles "Sid"
Heal calls the ray the "Holy
Grail of crowd control."
Raytheon has been developing
a Humvee-mountable ADS for the Pentagon over the last couple of years, as part
of an ACTD, or "advanced concept technology demonstration."
By now, the system was supposed to be in the field. But there have been concerns
that the ADS tests weren't
sufficiently realistic. The Pentagon ordered
additional trials. More than 2,370 ADS shots were fired during a pair of
"military utility assessments" over the fall.
Now, the head of the Army's Rapid
Equipping Force -- the unit in charge of getting gear to the troops in a
hurry -- is saying: enough.
The system's "capabilities have, to date, been sufficiently demonstrated
in the ACTD [advanced concept technology demonstration] to prove its value to
the solider," Col. Robert Lovett notes in a memo, obtained by Inside the
And the 18th Military Police Brigade
has requested ADS "to help 'suppress' insurgent attacks and quell prison
ADS' technical manager, Diana Loree, said the system "now meets all of
the ACTD performance parameters," Inside the Army notes.
"Because the system is a hand-built, one-of-a-kind technology demonstrator,
it does not meet conventional humvee curb weight requirements... However,
the technology team worked closely with [Humvee manufacturer] AM General to
ensure the safety of the system and its occupants."
There has also been talk, at least, of building an airborne
model of ADS -- as well as putting together a Hummer with both
pain rays and sonic blasters. Needless to say, neither project is as far
along as the basic Active Denial System.