This weapon causes injury... and who knows about the side effects...
Airman injured in heat-beam test
April 9, 2007
An airman received second-degree burns April 4 during a test of the Defense Department's nonlethal millimeter-wave heat beam at Moody Air Force Base, Ga., according to Marine Corps Maj. Sarah Fullwood, spokeswoman for the Advanced Concept Technology Demonstrator program, Quantico, Va.
The airman was burned as the Air Force's 820th Security Forces Group was testing a demonstrator version of the Active Denial System, a Humvee-mounted system that produces an intense heat beam.
He was being treated at Doctors Hospital in Augusta, Ga., and is expected to make a full recovery, Fullwood said.
Fullwood said more than 600 people have been exposed a total of more than 10,000 times to the beam, and there has only been one other injury that required medical attention: a case of second-degree burns that occurred during lab testing in 1999.
"We are going to investigate this and conduct a thorough evaluation. The extended user evaluation has been put on hold until the investigation in complete," Fullwood said.
She said the ADS program would continue after the investigation.
Formal acquisition of the system is planned for 2010.
The ADS grew out of 12 years of Defense Department research and development of a weapon to deter people — rather than kill. The Defense Department has spent about $80 million on the ADS effort, which began in 1998 as an Advanced Technology Research Demonstrator at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M.
The heat beam fires after a generator on the Humvee creates 50,000 volts of electricity, which powers a gyrotron, a tube that bunches electrons in a magnetic field to emit a 130-degree-Fahrenheit directed-energy beam, said Diana Loree, who runs ADS efforts at the Air Force Research Laboratory at Kirtland.