The US Marine Corps (USMC) has unveiled and demonstrated a non-lethal Active Denial system (ADS), which is capable of producing a high-frequency electromagnetic ray beam on activation, primarily designed for crowd control.
US DoD Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate director marine colonel Tracy Tafolla said that the weapon system has been researched for 15 years and is expected to be safe and ready for use.
"The system is state of the art technology, it’s not widely known…a lot of perceptions and misconceptions about what the system is and what it isn’t. It is a millimeter wave system, it is not a microwave."
"You’re not gonna see it, you’re not gonna hear it, you’re not gonna smell it: you’re gonna feel it," Tafolla said.
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Commenting on the weapon, the Air Force Research Laboratory Stephanie Miller who measured the system’s radio frequency bioeffects said that the frequency of the blast was the main criteria for causing actual injury as opposed to extreme discomfort.
The non-lethal weapon can be mounted on a military vehicle and can counter personnel from a significant safety margin by delivering long range beam of millimetre waves at a range of up to 1000m, which is 10 times greater than other non-lethal weapons.
The non-lethal 95GHz, millimetre wave beam, which can be shut-off automatically after three seconds for safety reasons, can penetrate only 1/64 of an inch into the skin, to produce reversible skin heating sensation, causing severe discomfort and prompting the individual to flee the beam.
The system has undergone a full legal and treaty review and has been demonstrated on 1000 people, of which injuries on two people required medical attention and were fully recovered later.
The ADS, ready for operational deployment, can also be used in military spectrum of operations including perimeter security and at entry control points.
Image: A Marine gestures at the initial wave of heat from the Active Denial System during a demonstration. Photo: US Marine Corps.