Set Your Phasers on Sting.WASHINGTON (AFPN AFPN Air Force Print News
AFPN American Forces Philippines Network (former AFRTS network in the Philippine Islands ) -- The near future may see U.S. military units employing beam weapons on the battlefield.
Although this may seem like science fiction, the Air Force and Marine Corps took a big step toward making this science fact in March, when they announced a breakthrough technology designed to project an energy beam that drives away adversaries without injuring them.
This emerging and revolutionary force-protection technology gives service members an alternative to using deadly force An amount of force that is likely to cause either serious bodily injury or death to another person.
Police officers may use deadly force in specific circumstances when they are trying to enforce the law. , said Marine Corps Col. George Fenton, director of the Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Program at Quantico, Va.
Two Air Force Research Laboratory teams led the technology development. One team was the laboratory's directed energy An umbrella term covering technologies that relate to the production of a beam of concentrated electromagnetic energy or atomic or subatomic particles. Also called DE. See also directed-energy device; directed-energy weapon. directorate at Kirtland Air Force Base Kirtland Air Force Base is located in the southeast quadrant of Albuquerque, New Mexico, adjacent to the Albuquerque International Sunport. The base is the third largest installation in Air Force Materiel Command, covering 51,558 acres (209 km²) and employing over 23,000 people, , N.M., and the other was from the human effectiveness directorate at Brooks Air Force Base, Texas.
The development responded to Department of Defense needs for alternative options to the more traditional weapons that can cause serious injury or death, Fenton said.
"A weapon like this could be particularly useful when adversaries are mixed with innocent [people]," he said.
The Vehicle Mounted Active Denial System |
The Active Denial System (ADS) is a non-lethal, directed-energy weapon system under development by the U.S. military. It is a strong millimeter-wave transmitter used for crowd control (the "goodbye effect"). technology uses millimeter-wave electromagnetic energy See electromagnetic radiation. traveling at the speed of light to stop, deter and tum back advancing adversaries.
While the exact range of the beam is classified, Fenton said the goal is to employ the nonlethal weapon against adversaries before service members come under small arms small arms, firearms designed primarily to be carried and fired by one person and, generally, held in the hands, as distinguished from heavy arms, or artillery. Early Small Arms
The first small arms came into general use at the end of the 14th cent. fire.
To accomplish this, the transmitter sends a narrow beam of energy to the target and penetrates less than 1/64th of an inch into the skin, quickly heating up only the skin's surface.
When the beam is focused on a subject, within a few seconds the person feels pain that only stops when the transmitter is shut off or when the subject moves out of the beam, according to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. Dr. Kirk Hackett of the directed energy directorate at the Air Force Research Lab at Kirtland.
The technology exploits a natural defense mechanism -- pain -- that has evolved to protect the human body from damage.
According to Fenton, the heat-induced pain produced by the energy beam is similar to the experience of briefly touching an ordinary light bulb that has been left on for a while.
Pain from the heat makes a person remove his or her finger from the light bulb before a burn can happen, he explained. Similarly, exposures from this nonlethal weapon technology cause a repellent effect but not physical damage to the body.
"We've done a lot of research on this technology and have shown there are no harmful health effects," said Dr. Michael Murphy Michael Murphy may refer to:
"There is more physical damage to skin from exposure to visible light, such as sitting on a sunny beach
Sunny Beach (Bulgarian: Слънчев бряг, , than from the energy that this technology exploits," Hackett said.
Current testing is being conducted under field conditions at Kirtland.
Although additional testing is expected to continue into this summer, officials have begun examining the technology for use on a vehicle-mounted version. The vehicle-mounted version will fit on a high mobility multi-purpose wheeled vehicle, or Humvee. Future versions might also be used aboard planes and ships.