Lab Defense: Pain Ray

We all know that security at the country's nuclear labs has been a little, um, uneven. Scientists at Sandia National Labs think they've found a way to plug up those porous defenses: a microwave-like pain that roasts intruders.nonlethal-weaponry_nr.jpgFor years, the Air Force and the Pentagon's Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate have been working on the Active Denial System, or ADS. It's a real-life ray gun which shoots 95 GHz millimeter waves. They penetrate a 64th of inch beneath the skin, where nerve receptors are concentrated. And when the waves hit, they produce an "intense heating sensation [which] stops only if the individual moves out of the beams path or the beam is turned off," a Sandia press release explains. "The sensation caused by the system has been described by test subjects as feeling like touching a hot frying pan."It's a pretty damn persuasive way to get people to clear out of the way. And unlike, say, an M-16 fired into a mob, the beam's only lasting effects seem to be bad memories. No wonder folks are calling ADS "the Holy Grail of crowd control."Raytheon has built a Humvee-mounted model, which is currently being tested before a likely trip to Iraq. The Air Force is developing an airborne version of the pain ray.Now, Sandia researchers are getting in on the act, too. But unlike the military-grade units -- meant to zap masses of people far, far away -- the smaller Sandia model would be used to dissuade nearby individuals from sneaking into classified facilities. The researchers ran performance tests on a mini-ray prototype in late May. More "human effectiveness" trials will continue over the next six months.If those work out, Sandia says, a "second-generation small-size ADS system [is] expected to be fielded at several DOE [Department of Energy] nuclear facilities as early as 2008."

Show Full Article

Related Topics


November is Military Family Appreciation Month

Throughout the month, military families are honored and recognized for their commitment and contributions in support of our military and nation.

View the Tribute

Most Popular Military News