Friday, December 08, 2006

Say Hello to the Goodbye Weapon...

I read a sickening story today on about a new weapon that the American Military have been developing in secret over the last 10 years. It's called the Active Denial System or ADS. It is a non-lethal weapon that fires beams of millimeters waves, which are longer in wavelength than x-rays but shorter than microwaves -- 94 GHz (= 3 mm wavelength) compared to 2.45 GHz (= 12 cm wavelength) in a standard microwave oven.

The fact that it uses a longer wavelength means that it limits the effects of radiation. Most of the radiation is instantly absorbed by the top layer of skin, heating it rapidly. The beam produces what experimenters call the "Goodbye effect," or "prompt and highly motivated escape behavior." In human tests, most subjects reached their pain threshold within 3 seconds, and none of the subjects could endure more than 5 seconds.

It acts on you natural human repelling reflex - as soon as you feel it you instantly want to move out of it, like you would if you touched a flame.

The weapon will be used for crowd control. It has the ability to clear a street in seconds. The USAAF have made a large number of elaborate tests on human subjects. The volunteers were military personnel: active, reserve or retired. They were unpaid, but the subjects would "benefit from direct knowledge that an effective nonlethal weapon system could soon be in the inventory," said one report. The tests ranged from simple exposure in the laboratory to elaborate war games involving hundreds of participants.

In more than 10,000 exposures, there were six cases of blistering and one instance of second-degree burns in a laboratory accident, the documents claim.

The ADS was developed in complete secrecy for 10 years at a cost of $40 million. The ADS technology is ready to deploy, and the Army requested ADS-armed Strykers for Iraq last year. But the military is well aware that any adverse publicity could finish the program. New bombs can be rushed into service in a matter of weeks, but the process is more complex for nonlethal weapons.

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