The new Active Denial System which produces what experimenters call the “Goodbye effect,” or “prompt and highly motivated escape behavior.” In human tests, most subjects reached their pain threshold within 3 seconds, and none of the subjects could endure more than 5 seconds.
“It will repel you,” one test subject said. “If hit by the beam, you will move out of it — reflexively and quickly. You for sure will not be eager to experience it again.”
But while subjects may feel like they have sustained serious burns, the documents claim effects are not long-lasting. At most, “some volunteers who tolerate the heat may experience prolonged redness or even small blisters,” the Air Force experiments concluded.
The military simulated crowd control situations, rescuing helicopter crews in a Black Hawk Down setting and urban assaults. More unusual tests involved alcohol, attack dogs and maze-like obstacle courses.
The ADS technology is ready to deploy, and the Army requested ADS-armed Strykers for Iraq last year. But the military is well aware that any adverse publicity could finish the program, and it does not want to risk distressed victims wailing about evil new weapons on CNN.
New bombs can be rushed into service in a matter of weeks, but the process is more complex for nonlethal weapons. It may be years before the debates are resolved and the first directed-energy nonlethal weapon is used in action.
This new weapon also prompted the following comment:
The development of a truly safe and highly effective nonlethal crowd-control system could raise enormous ethical questions about the state’s use of coercive force. If a method such as ADS leads to no lasting injury or harm, authorities may find easier justifications for employing them.
For my part, I don’t think there is any question that this will indeed prompt increased usage of coercive force. Just look at all of the recent videos on the net of police using Tasers on victims that don’t really require it.
You can read the whole story from Wired here.