Active Denial System

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The Active Denial System or as it also called ADS is a less-lethal, directed-energy weapon that was instituted by the United States military. It is a strong millimeter-wave transmitter generally utilized for crowd control. Some Active Denial Systems such as HPEM ADS are also put in place to disable vehicles.

It is sometimes in informal settings considered the pain ray. Raytheon is at present marketing a reduced-range version of this kind of technology. There is a claim that the Active Denial System is presently being considered for active duty in the Iraq War.

The Active Denial System functions by directing electromagnetic radiation, chiefly, high-frequency microwave radiation at a frequency of 95 GHz which is equal to a wavelength of 3.2 mm, at the intended subject(s). The waves cause a piercingly painful sensation of extreme heat on the outer most layer of the skin. It does not burn the skin during standard usage.

The burning sensation that is experienced is almost identical to the feeling of an incandescent light bulb being pressed directly upon the skin. The beam that is released can be pointed at targets at a range in excess of 700 meters. The device has the capacity to penetrate thick clothing, however it is not yet able to penetrate the thickness of a wall. At 95 GHz, its frequency is profoundly greater than the 2.45 GHz of a microwave oven.

A spokesman for the Air Force Research Laboratory had this to say about his experience as a test subject for the ADS: "For the first millisecond, it just felt like the skin was warming up. Then it got warmer and warmer and you felt like it was on fire. As soon as you're away from that beam your skin returns to normal and there is no pain.".

Though the effects can be unpleasant, Active Denial System has been subject to extensive testing since it was put in place more than 12 years ago. Much of the research have remained undisclosed, making a thorough independent evaluation of the system an impossibility. The beam's design makes it able to only affect an individual for a brief moment.

This is achieved by safety presets and features which maintain the effects of ADS. However it is possible for these settings to be altered by the operator. A public release once declared that there have been more than 10,700 "shots" by ADS. The Active Denial System is presently restricted to being operated while mounted on a vehicle. The United States Marines and police are both working on portable versions for use.

A fully operational and mounted system was exhibited on January 24, 2007, at Moody Air Force Base, Georgia, United States. A Reuters correspondent who volunteered to be shot with the beam during the exhibition said it was "similar to a blast from a very hot oven - too painful to bear without diving for cover."

The full effects of this radio frequency on humans have been studied by the military for a great number of years, and some of the research has been published in peer-reviewed journals.

The fundamental objective for the development of this system is not entirely fathomable as a result has been an area of controversy.

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