A company called Raytheon (ever heard of a Phalanx gatling gun?) is about to start selling what they’re calling the Active Denial System, or ADS. It is apparently a non-lethal energy ray that penetrates the skin about 1/64th of an inch causing excruciating temporary pain. In case you’re wondering, yes – this is a functioning pain ray. Raytheon has been marketing this system as a non lethal deterrent system, and it is a huge device that looks like it should be mounted on a truck or ship or something:
It’s being called the Silent Guardian. There are two models of the ray system – a 30,000W version (effective up to 250 meters) and a 100,000W version (effective up to 750 meters). Raytheon recently gave a presentation to NATO about anti-pirate measures and the Active-Denial System, and produced this PDF document – Raytheon has been studying this technology since before they unveiled a version of it in 2001. Think about this for a moment: a point focus microwave generator that produces an excruciating feeling when directed at someone from a minimum of 250 meters. As far as protecting cargo and container ships, I think this is a pretty interesting non-lethal weapon. Raytheon seems to be pointing this towards non-military applications too – like law enforcement and security. No offense to either of these industries, but quite frankly I wonder what kinds of news stories I’ll be writing about when this thing hits the market. I think it’s great that we might have a non-lethal weapon that could protect whatever needs protecting from actual threats, but why don’t you go search Google News for the words “police” and “taser.”
I hate to sound like a broken record, but if we can’t even trust people with taser guns, what makes this joystick-controlled hurt beam any different? What about the possibility of this thing being used in “questioning” situations?
I like hearing about things that deal with light and energy, and even though the realistic part of my brain tells me differently, I am going to hope for the best here. Let’s hope that we don’t read about some overzealous agent using this on a detainee or some militant law enforcement group just unleashing this onto a group of demonstrators without need or license.
From the PDF presentation:
Thanks, Danger Room!