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U.S. Eyes 'Pain Beam' for Home Security, Law Enforcement

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Author Topic: U.S. Eyes 'Pain Beam' for Home Security, Law Enforcement  (Read 141 times)
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« on: December 15, 2007, 04:25:17 pm »

U.S. Eyes 'Pain Beam' for Home Security, Law Enforcement

Burglars break into an apartment, hoping to pick up some expensive electronics or jewelry. But they're out again, empty-handed, within seconds, howling with pain and surprise. They've been driven back by waves of intolerable heat: Entering the apartment is like stepping into a furnace. It's the Active Denial System, or ADS, at work, the ultimate in home protection ... among other uses.

Also known as the "pain beam," ADS is a revolutionary non-lethal weapon that uses microwaves to cause burning pain without injury. The 95-GHz waves only penetrate a fraction of an inch, heating the outer surface of the target's skin. According to the Air Force, nobody can tolerate the beam for more than five seconds, and improvised protection such as wrapping yourself in wet towels or tin foil is useless.

There have been repeated calls for ADS to be deployed in Iraq, but the military is bogged down in reviews of the technology. However, now that ADS exists, the pain beam's manufacturer is exploring domestic U.S. uses, like industrial- and home-security systems. The Department of Energy is looking at employing the technology to protect America's nuclear stockpile. Meanwhile, some U.S. law enforcement officials are eager to get their hands on the pain weapon, and the Department of Justice is funding a multimillion-dollar research project to give it to them.

"We seem to have no qualms about dropping bombs on people, but are afraid of being embarrassed if we accidentally hurt someone while trying to save their lives," says Charles "Sid" Heal, a commander at the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department "Those restrictions do not apply to the Department of Justice and we are zealously looking for ways of resolving confrontations without having to kill or seriously hurt our adversary."

A former Marine, Heal has tested Active Denial and believes it could be invaluable in situations like jail riots, where the searing pain could cow rebellious prisoners. His biggest problems are the system's size and price tag; it's currently mounted on a Hummer and costs millions of dollars, putting it far beyond the reach of police departments.

That's where the U.S. Justice Department comes in. The National Institute of Justice, the department's R&D branch, believes police need a cheaper, lightweight Active Denial system with shorter range. NIJ tested a prototype of such a system earlier this year, but the results of testing have not yet been revealed. A working device is expected to be delivered towards the end of 2008.

"NIJ is working with the developer of the ADS system, Raytheon, to modify its underlying technology for law enforcement and corrections application in a man-portable configuration with a desired range of a hundred feet," says Department of Justice spokeswoman Sheila Jerusalem.

Mike Booen, Raytheon's vice president of directed energy weapons, says the handheld version could progress rapidly if the demand is there. So far funding has only amounted to $2.5 million (compared to $100 million on the military version), and more money would speed the process of getting it into the field. Such a device might be a separate unit or might be mounted under a rifle.

Booen says the smaller system may fire short pulses rather than a continuous beam due to power limitations. Beam diameter will be much smaller than the Hummer-mounted version -- just a few inches, instead of six feet. But in tests, even one square inch of exposure produced the "repel effect," forcing the subject to get out of the way as quickly as possible.

A handheld ADS would deliver an intermediate level of force, between verbal commands and more drastic means such as pepper spray or Tasers. But some have concerns that it could be used to punish or torture suspects rather than control them. Pepper spray and Tasers have caused plenty of debate, and any police use of "pain compliance" methods invites controversy. A device that causes intense pain but leaves no physical or chemical traces could easily be abused. 
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Posts: 11110

« Reply #1 on: December 15, 2007, 11:05:24 pm »

Oh great more Illuminati herding weapons. Angry
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