It was only a matter of time, I guess. First, the Air Force builds a real-life, microwave-like pain ray. Then, it gets a company to strap that real-life, microwave-like pain ray to the back of a jet.For years, the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) has been working on a millimeter-wave beam that penetrates a 64th of an inch beneath the skin. That causes the water molecules there to bubble. And that hurts like hell; people tend to run -- fast -- in the other direction. Small wonder, then, that non-lethal weapons experts call this "Active Denial System" the "holy grail of crowd control."Active Denial been tested on people a bunch of times. A Humvee-mounted prototype is about to start undergoing trials. And now, Active Denial is going airborne.AFRL handed Palo Alto's Communications & Power Industries a four year, $7 million contract, according to the Hilltop Times -- the in-house paper of Hill Air Force Base.
Dr. Diana Loree, the project officer for Active Denial, said four AFRL directorates are involved in developing this airborne capability: directed energy here; propulsion and vehicles at Wright Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio; and human effectiveness at Brooks City-Base, Texas.Experts from directed energy, as the lead directorate, focuses on the systems engineering and radiating system development, she said. Propulsion directorate experts focus on the airborne power generation and conditioning required for the radiating system. Vehicles directorate scientists and engineers put their efforts toward Active Denial's thermal management and aircraft integration issues while human effectiveness experts focus on biological effects research.