Active denial system

Like every technology ever created to help mankind, the U.S. military can swallow it, digest it, and spit out something destructive. Microwave technology is no different. The following is a quote from a spokesman for the Air Force Research Laboratory:

For the first millisecond, it just felt like the skin was warming up. Then it got warmer and warmer and you felt like it was on fire…. As soon as you’re away from that beam your skin returns to normal and there is no pain.

The spokesman is describing the Active Denial System (ADS), a non-lethal, directed-energy weapon designed for area denial, perimeter security and crowd control. Here you can see it mounted on a vehicle:


Believe it or not, it works on the same principle as a simple microwave oven. It excites the water and fat molecules in the skin, instantly heating them. There is one significant difference with a regular microwave oven though: the ADS only penetrates the top layers of skin, up to 0,4 mm. This causes a sensation of 44°C on the skin, without actually damaging critical structures inside of the skin. No human test subject could endure this for more than 5 seconds. Furthermore, the beam can be focused up to 700 meters away, and penetrate thick clothing. You’ll also have no idea where it came from or where you should run to if you don’t actually see the ADS. The beam leaves no sound, sight or smell.

According to Wired Magazine, the ADS has been rejected for fielding in Iraq due to Pentagon fears that it would be regarded as an instrument of torture.

Do you thing the U.S. military should continue developing this weapon? Do you think it is a better alternative to other crowd control weapons, such as gas grenades or water cannons?





2 thoughts on “Active denial system

  1. It really scared me a lot. For crowd control, it can be an effective method, but is that if we increase the power of the microwave to a very large value, it can make a human explode? Just like when we put an egg in to the microwave oven. I am not quite sure how they defined ‘non-lethal’. Since every human have very different body condition, like children and adults and the elders, the damage varies. Also mentioned in wiki, the Cornea damage is another potential damage although it turn out to be no short-term or long-term damage on primates’ eyes.
    To my interest, is this kind of technology practicable on losing weight? I have read it can excite the water and fat molecules in the skin. Just for fun._(:з」∠)_

  2. Hmm should they develop it or not.. I personally think this could be a handy technology in violent riots. Off course this would not be one of the cheapest ways to do it, since the truck probably costs lots of money. But I think it would cause less damage to the human body than using rubber bullets for example. But I have to agree with the comment below. It would probably be easy to increase the Watts of the machine, making it more lethal than it is said here.

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