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U.S. Military get their hands on a Heat-Ray


By Joshua Hill —— Bio and Archives--September 19, 2007

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When you cast your mind back to the radio serials of the past century, depicting our future (or even the years we are living), the term ‘heat-ray’ will inevitably be linked to the mad ravings of someone known as “Doctor Dementor” or “The Professor of Pain”. In reality, some will say that they should be left there, in literary—or not so much—peace.

However, a major US defense contractor Raytheon has just handed over their third prototype heat-ray, the Active Denial System 2 (their first prototype was ‘0’, hence three at ‘2’). Looking a little like a portable satellite dish on the back of a Humvee, working a little bit like a microwave, and apparently causing no lasting damage, the ADS 2 could be the first directed-energy weapon fielded by the U.S. military if it passes evaluation by the U.S. Air Force.

The heat-ray (anyone else hearing maniacal laughing as that term is used?) is intended to beam (it’s Star Trek all over again) millimeter waves—smaller than their better known cousins, the microwaves—at, for example, an unruly mob of citizens stampeding outside a U.S. (or foreign) embassy.

The mob will subsequently scatter under the intense heat that is directed their way. However, the beam causes no lasting damage, and under tests (don’t how they test this, but the term Guantanamo Bay comes to mind) a maximum of a few seconds was all that could be tolerated.

The version 2 is bigger, handles tougher terrain and deals better with warmer atmospheric temperatures than previous models—the ‘0’ and ‘1’. In fact, this is only the third prototype of the ADS made by Raytheon, who made only one per phase. The ADS 2 is designed to be mounted on a variety of vehicles or to be operated from a fixed site, ie, the front door of the U.S. Embassy in

<...insert country here…>

.

Whether this weapon will make it past evaluation by the Join Non-Lethal Weapons Program—headed by the U.S. Air Force—is not only a matter of technical proficiency, but also political backing. As Jonathan Skillings writes in his article at News.com, “...the Pentagon surely isn’t eager to see headlines like “U.S. fries protesters with energy weapon.”“

On a side note, Raytheon also have one smaller prototype at one third the power and size, which is up for sale. Put this together with the headline “fries”, and I’m sensing that McDonalds might be on this for some instant French fry device.


Joshua Hill, a Geek’s-Geek from Melbourne, Australia, Josh is an aspiring author with dreams of publishing his epic fantasy, currently in the works, sometime in the next 5 years. A techie, nerd, sci-fi nut and bookworm.



Guest Column Joshua Hill -- Bio and Archives | Comments

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