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Microwave weapon intensified by sweaty skin
NewScientist.com news service ^ | 15 September 2006 | David Hambling

Posted on 09/16/2006 7:46:57 PM PDT by neverdem

The Pentagon's "less-lethal" microwave-based crowd-control weapon – the Active Denial System (ADS) – produces potentially harmful hotspots when used in built-up areas, and its effects can be intensified by sweaty skin, tests have revealed. The flaws call into question the weapon's usefulness in hot conditions, like those in Iraq.

The ADS fires a microwave beam intended to heat skin without causing damage, while inflicting enough pain to force the victim to move away. However, tests of the weapon showed that reflections off buildings, water or even the ground can produce peak energy densities twice as high as the main beam. Contact with sweat or moist fabric such as a sweaty waistband further intensifies the effect.

The safety concerns, revealed in the details of 14 tests carried out by the US air force between 2002 and 2006, were acquired under a Freedom of Information request by Edward Hammond of the Sunshine Project USA, which campaigns against the use of biological and non-lethal weapons.

Alcohol consumption Test details released to the organisation last year revealed that volunteers taking part in the tests had been banned from wearing glasses or contact lenses because of safety fears.

Active Denial Systems under development include small, portable versions and vehicle and aircraft-mounted systems. The new tests ranged from simple experiments to determine pain thresholds to large-scale war games involving hundreds of subjects. Some tests involved finding whether alcohol increased subjects' ability to withstand the beam and how trained dogs responded, to determine the effect of accidental exposure on dog handling teams.

Nevertheless, the weapon may be safer than some alternatives. More than 9000 experimental exposures to the ADS have produced just six cases of blistering and one second-degree burn caused by an accidental overexposure. The US army wants permission to deploy the system in Iraq, but the decision has been delayed while tests continue.

Fellow citizens The secretary of the US Air Force, Michael Wynne, said recently that new non-lethal weapons like the microwave ADS should be used on Americans before being deployed to places like Iraq.

"If we're not willing to use it here against our fellow citizens, then we should not be willing to use it in a wartime situation," he told CNN.

Hammond hopes these comments may stimulate debate on the use of the ADS and other non-lethal weapons. "I think that you would see a strongly negative public reaction and quite possibly an increase in violence if US police were to use the ADS in riot control," he told New Scientist. "I'm sad to say that such an outpouring of concern would probably be considerably more muted if the weapon was deployed in Iraq first."

Related Articles

Details of US microwave-weapon tests revealed http://www.newscientisttechnology.com/article/mg18725095.600 22 July 2005

Police toy with 'less lethal' weapons http://www.newscientisttechnology.com/article/dn7326 02 May 2005

Microwave beam weapon to disperse crowds http://www.newscientisttechnology.com/article/dn1470 29 October 2001

Weblinks

Active Denial System, US Air Force (pdf format) http://qurl.com/vbpsc

Sunshine Project http://www.sunshine-project.org/


TOPICS: Extended News; Foreign Affairs; Government; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections; Technical; US: District of Columbia; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: activedenialsystem; ads; microwaveweapon; oops; pulseit; yourfryingmygiblets
Benjamin Franklin's 'lightning kite' paper goes online
1 posted on 09/16/2006 7:46:57 PM PDT by neverdem
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To: neverdem

What happens if the target's wearing an aluminum-foil hat? No, seriously, I'm curious.


2 posted on 09/16/2006 7:48:26 PM PDT by RichInOC (...somebody was going to ask...why not me?)
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To: neverdem

Uh, Captian Kirk, set the phasers to 1/2 if you don't want to hurt anyone?


3 posted on 09/16/2006 7:50:41 PM PDT by Right Wing Assault ("..this administration is planning a 'Right Wing Assault' on values and ideals.." - John Kerry)
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To: neverdem

Guess the old M2 is a better deterrant.


4 posted on 09/16/2006 8:00:08 PM PDT by DBrow
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To: neverdem

Do they get sweaty in the Middle East?


5 posted on 09/16/2006 8:00:53 PM PDT by BipolarBob (I get homesick when I look up in the skies and see my home planet.)
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To: neverdem
Edward Hammond of the Sunshine Project USA, which campaigns against the use of biological and non-lethal weapons.

How about some honesty on the subject of Hammond... an anti-American lefty who opposes US use of any weapons at all.

d.o.l.

Criminal Number 18F

6 posted on 09/16/2006 8:06:15 PM PDT by Criminal Number 18F (Build more lampposts... we've got plenty of traitors.)
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To: neverdem
We're working harder to figure out a "less lethal" deterrent, while they are working on how to kill as many in one motion as possible. I'm not so sure our enemies are thankful for the research being done here to preserve their suntans without scorching them like so much overdone microwave popcorn.
7 posted on 09/16/2006 8:09:14 PM PDT by kittycatonline.com
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To: RichInOC

"What happens if the target's wearing an aluminum-foil hat? No, seriously, I'm curious."




You seem the guy to ask this question of, why don't the tin foil guys just wear the old pre-Reagan, army steel pot helmet?



8 posted on 09/16/2006 8:10:28 PM PDT by ansel12 (Life is exquisite... of great beauty, keenly felt.)
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To: ansel12

No idea, but I'm just imagining some poor sucker getting that thing turned on him and having his head blow up.


9 posted on 09/16/2006 8:12:42 PM PDT by RichInOC (BOOM!)
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To: RichInOC


"No idea, but I'm just imagining some poor sucker getting that thing turned on him and having his head blow up."




Rent the movie scanners sometime.


10 posted on 09/16/2006 8:14:37 PM PDT by ansel12 (Life is exquisite... of great beauty, keenly felt.)
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To: ansel12

I don't remember if I've actually seen the movie all the way through, but I definitely remember the scene you have in mind.


11 posted on 09/16/2006 8:17:25 PM PDT by RichInOC (BOOM!)
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To: neverdem
and its effects can be intensified by sweaty skin

Shirley they thought about this ahead of time. Common sense.

Maybe they can hose everybody down with antiperspirant before they turn on the nuke ray.

12 posted on 09/16/2006 8:18:01 PM PDT by upchuck (Q:Why does President Bush support amnesty for illegal aliens? A:Read this: http://tinyurl.com/nyvno)
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To: BipolarBob

If any one else here has been at the receiving end of perhaps hundreds of billy club armed cops charging at you.

You can verify my point that there is always a Little sweating involved in riots.


13 posted on 09/16/2006 8:18:56 PM PDT by ansel12 (Life is exquisite... of great beauty, keenly felt.)
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To: BipolarBob
Do they get sweaty in the Middle East?

Thats when they need to set it to popcorn level! Watch their little heads explode into Jihad-Pop Popcorn!

14 posted on 09/16/2006 8:22:32 PM PDT by Bommer
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To: El Gato; Ernest_at_the_Beach; Robert A. Cook, PE; lepton; LadyDoc; jb6; tiamat; PGalt; Dianna; ...
Psychiatrist Is Among Five Chosen for Medical Award

Cats And Dogs Protect Kids From Stomach Bugs

FReepmail me if you want on or off my health and science ping list.

15 posted on 09/16/2006 8:33:40 PM PDT by neverdem (May you be in heaven a half hour before the devil knows that you're dead.)
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To: neverdem
"The ADS fires a microwave beam intended to heat skin without causing damage, while inflicting enough pain to force the victim to move away. However, tests of the weapon showed that reflections off buildings, water or even the ground can produce peak energy densities twice as high as the main beam. Contact with sweat or moist fabric such as a sweaty waistband further intensifies the effect."

Please explain one more time:
Why exactly is this a problem?

16 posted on 09/16/2006 8:34:00 PM PDT by Redbob
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To: neverdem
"If we're not willing to use it here against our fellow citizens, then we should not be willing to use it in a wartime situation," he told CNN.

= "If we don't want to use it on ourselves, we should not use it on our enemies." Great logic, that.

17 posted on 09/16/2006 8:46:51 PM PDT by Praxeas
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To: Redbob

If they are so damned worried about a little tissue trauma perhaps the bad guys would prefer the 62 grains of lead out of the end of the M-16. IDIOTS!


18 posted on 09/16/2006 8:50:32 PM PDT by cpdiii (Socialism is popular with the ruling class. It gives legitimacy to tyranny and despotism.)
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To: neverdem
Sunshine Project USA ... campaigns against the use of ... non-lethal weapons.

But lethal weapons are ok? This is a strange lib group.

19 posted on 09/16/2006 8:52:57 PM PDT by ProtectOurFreedom
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To: Praxeas

Incredible logic, isn't it? But then again, Michael Wynne is Air Force. Let's pray that you will never, ever hear a Marine say something so stupid.


20 posted on 09/16/2006 9:00:49 PM PDT by ProtectOurFreedom
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To: RichInOC

I don't know about the tinfoil...

But, I was under the impression that microwaves were used for cooking food because they had wavelengths which resonated with the bondlengths of the hydrogen and oxygen bonds in water. Thus, food with water content had high energy absorption and heated up quickly.

Same logic would apply with water in the body.

If that's the case, it's not hard to believe that sweat spots would heat up since they obviously have high water content.

But the idea that this would not be effective in a desert environment like Iraq doesn't make much sense.

If there's a materials science person out there, pls update me if I'm incorrect.


21 posted on 09/16/2006 9:14:25 PM PDT by Slowsky
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To: BipolarBob
Do they get sweaty in the Middle East?

YOU HAVE OFFENDED US!!!!!

22 posted on 09/16/2006 9:17:10 PM PDT by Redcloak (Speak softly and wear a loud shirt.)
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To: neverdem
So there is a group against non-lethal weapons and a man for use of these weapons on Americans before foreigners....
This is sort of odd.

23 posted on 09/16/2006 9:17:39 PM PDT by Jedi Master Pikachu ( Microevolution is real; Macroevolution is not real.)
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To: Praxeas

By that logic we should dismantle all of our bombs and extend gun control to the military. This guy is a moron.


24 posted on 09/16/2006 9:18:57 PM PDT by watchin (Facts irritate liberals)
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To: neverdem
"...However, tests of the weapon showed that reflections off buildings, water or even the ground can produce peak energy densities twice as high as the main beam..."

How 'bout that!?! Same as broadcast TV signals. This thing has some potential............FRegards

25 posted on 09/16/2006 9:22:25 PM PDT by gonzo (.........Good grief!...I'm as confused as a baby in a topless club!.........)
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To: neverdem
"If we're not willing to use it here against our fellow citizens, then we should not be willing to use it in a wartime situation," he told CNN.

This has to rank as one of the most disturbingly asinine statements I've ever heard from a military representative.

26 posted on 09/16/2006 9:24:53 PM PDT by TChris (Banning DDT wasn't about birds. It was about power.)
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To: neverdem
original or extra crispy??
27 posted on 09/16/2006 9:55:14 PM PDT by 12th_Monkey
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To: Redbob

It sounds like a solution to me.


28 posted on 09/16/2006 9:56:11 PM PDT by 2ndClassCitizen
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To: Jedi Master Pikachu
So there is a group against non-lethal weapons and a man for use of these weapons on Americans before foreigners....

"This is sort of odd."

This is freaking insanity!
29 posted on 09/16/2006 10:08:48 PM PDT by Prokopton
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To: neverdem

Surely someone here understands why we need non-lethal tools to break up riots.

Surely someone here understands why that, or those, tools have to be acceptable here in the US before we use them around the world.


30 posted on 09/16/2006 10:23:56 PM PDT by ansel12 (Life is exquisite... of great beauty, keenly felt.)
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To: neverdem
The ADS fires a microwave beam intended to heat skin without causing damage, while inflicting enough pain to force the victim to move away.

This is why it's a good idea to turn off the weather radar in a plane after landing -- so you don't fry the lineboy. ;)

31 posted on 09/16/2006 11:00:16 PM PDT by Prince Charles
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To: neverdem

Hmm... what if someone in the crowd has a bag of popcorn in their pocket... edgy troops could think they're being fired at :)


32 posted on 09/17/2006 1:50:01 AM PDT by AmericaUnited
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To: cpdiii

"If they are so damned worried about a little tissue trauma perhaps the bad guys would prefer the 62 grains of lead out of the end of the M-16. IDIOTS!"

Yeah, what he said. And I like the part where we need to test it on AMERICANS. Howsa bout some real-world testing in oh, I don't know, maybe the SUNNI TRIANGLE!!!


33 posted on 09/17/2006 4:02:16 AM PDT by Rocketwolf68
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To: neverdem
So, this "sunshine" project is campaigning AGAINST non-lethal weapons, and cites (bogus and exaggerated) "safety considerations" about weapons that would be used INSTEAD of shooting people (or ignoring them and "hoping for peace"?

Gee.

Wow.

No wonder the Muslims are winning the propaganda war.
34 posted on 09/17/2006 12:59:38 PM PDT by Robert A. Cook, PE (I can only donate monthly, but Hillary's ABBCNNBCBS continue to lie every day!)
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To: Robert A. Cook, PE
No wonder the Muslims are winning the propaganda war.

LOL! Try it out domestically. The ACLU keeps pushing for desegregation of the prison population in California prisons. The Blacks and Mexicans get along just swell. It won't be long before you have results.

35 posted on 09/17/2006 3:09:02 PM PDT by neverdem (May you be in heaven a half hour before the devil knows that you're dead.)
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To: ansel12
Surely someone here understands why that, or those, tools have to be acceptable here in the US before we use them around the world.

Desegregate California prisons. Results should be forthcoming.

36 posted on 09/17/2006 3:13:36 PM PDT by neverdem (May you be in heaven a half hour before the devil knows that you're dead.)
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To: neverdem
Microwave weapon intensified by sweaty skin

What happens if the targets had peed in their pants?

37 posted on 09/17/2006 3:17:21 PM PDT by Cementjungle
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