Non Lethal Directed Energy Weapons
Anti-personnel non lethal directed energy weapons include lasers, high power
electro-magnetic pulse and directional acoustic weapons. One of the systems
currently in use is the SaberShot laser dazzler - this hand held or weapon
mounted low-power device uses 250Mw of 532nm green-laser. When directed at
the target, the laser's optics temporarily expand to generate a blinding
light which penetrates smoke, fog at twice the range of white light.
Modulation of such high intensity light cause disorientation, dazzle and
blink reaction that reduces the target's activity. Such weapon could be used
to disorient and degrade performance of potential threats, such as snipers,
or RPG launchers.
Other laser-guided directed-energy weapons work like "artificial lightning"
to disable human targets or electronic circuits. Laser Induced Plasma
Channel (LIPC) technology was developed by Ionatron to channel electrical
energy through the air at the target. The interaction of the air and laser
light at specific wavelength, causes light to break into filaments, which
form a plasma channel that conducts the energy like a virtual wire. This
technology can be adjusted for non-lethal or lethal use. LIPC operate at
line of sight, allowing propagation of electrical pulses to be directed at a
specific target. LPIC based weapon could, in theory, be fired around corners
if mirrors were used.
Directed microwave energy is also utilized for non lethal weapon system
applications. Raytheon's Active denial System (ADS) is a non lethal,
counter-personnel directed energy non-lethal weapon which can be used to
protect fixed positions or from mobile as well as airborne platforms,
against human targets at distances beyond the effective range of small arms.
A similar system is currently at an initial development phase at applied
physics lab of the the Israeli Technion.
Directed Acoustic Weapons
In the past, acoustic non lethal weapons were primarily used as "flash bang"
weapons. When blasted over a crowd or in a room, they created a loud noise
and bright flash incapacitated people exposed to the effect for a few
seconds. Flash bang charges are used on forced entry and counter-terror
operations, when hostages are involved. As they indiscriminately hit every
human exposed to the effect, operation of "flash-bang" requires precise
timing and procedures to maximize effect on hostiles and eliminate potential
damage to friendly forces.
Currently, acoustics are far more advanced than mere noise. Following the
impressive technology advancement in solid state electronics, advanced
acoustic systems are becoming operational. In 2004 American soldiers in Iraq
were equipped with a Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD) used for land based
and naval applications. LARD works like a highly directional, high power
megaphone, able to blast sounds (such as crowd-dispersal instructions in
Arabic) in a narrow beam and with great clarity at a deafening 150 decibels
(50 times the human threshold of pain). LRAD can also create deafening
noises which can incapacitate people within 300 meters by "firing" short
bursts of intense acoustic energy.
A different acoustic weapon is the vehicle mounted Acoustic Blaster,
developed by PRIMEX Physics International. This weapon can be used for area
denial, and against selected groups in crowds, mobs and rioters or in a
hostile situation. The weapon can be operated by a single person. So far the
system was developed as a prototype consisting of an array of four
combustion detonation driven devices fired simultaneously or independently.
The detonation creates an acoustic pressure of up to 165dB at a distance of
15 meters. The resulting acoustic pressure waveform can be optimized for
acoustic-physiological coupling to targets for antipersonnel applications.
The US Air Force Research Laboratory (ARL) is also working on a Sequential
Arc Discharge Acoustic Generator (SADAG) which produces high-intensity
impulsive sound waves generated by electrical means.
A different acoustic weapon is the high power acoustic phased array of 36
horns which can focus the acoustic output at the target. The high power
noise created within the target can incapacitate humans from a standoff
range. The system can be mounted on a tactical vehicle, and radiate a
narrow, high power steerable acoustic beam, disorientating humans. Both
horizontal and vertical beams can be formed simultaneously to create a point
effect within buildings.
A different application is the shockwave weapon, employing the Vortex Ring
Gun system. Generating high power shockwave propagating at supersonic speed,
Vortex ring Guns can generate high pressures which inflict considerable
damage to a target, or carry a payload of kinetic or chemical agents over a
distance beyond 20 meters.
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