posted on Sep, 5 2002 @ 10:55 AM
Microwave beam weapon to disperse crowds
By Jeff Hecht, Boston
Tests of a controversial weapon that is designed to heat people's skin with a microwave beam have shown that it can disperse crowds. But critics are
not convinced the system is safe.
Last week, the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) in New Mexico finished testing the system on human volunteers. The Air Force now wants to use this
Active Denial Technology (ADT), which it says is non-lethal, for peacekeeping or riot control at "relatively long range" - possibly from low-flying
ADT uses a 2-metre dish to create a narrow beam of microwaves that can be scanned across a crowd or even aimed at individuals. AFRL is using infrared
photography to analyse the heating effect on the volunteers' bodies.
AFRL says that the 3-millimetre wavelength radiation penetrates only 0.3 millimetres into the skin, rapidly heating the surface above the 45 ƒC pain
threshold. At 50 ƒC, they say the pain reflex makes people pull away automatically in less than a second - it's said to feel like fleetingly touching
a hot light bulb. Someone would have to stay in the beam for 250 seconds before it burnt the skin, the lab says, giving "ample margin between
intolerable pain and causing a burn".
I imagine it wouldn't be too hard to turn up the power to incinerate people. This guise of riot control I bet is a cover for more sinister
aplications. Anyway thoughts ?