Ray Gun Could Be Deployed In Iraq Early Next Year

October 26th, 2007  
Team Infidel

Topic: Ray Gun Could Be Deployed In Iraq Early Next Year

Houston Chronicle
October 26, 2007 By Richard Lardner, Associated Press
QUANTICO, Va. There's no doubt this oversized ray gun can deliver the heat. The question is, how soon can the weapon, which neither kills nor maims, be delivered to Iraq?
At a rain-soaked demonstration of the crowd-dispersal tool here Thursday, military officials said one could be deployed early next year. But others still need to be built and undergo more testing before being shipped, a slow-going process at odds with urgent demands from U.S. commanders for the device.
What the troops may see as needless delays, Pentagon officials view as necessary steps toward fielding a weapon never used before in combat. The device, known as the Active Denial System, uses energy beams instead of bullets and lets soldiers break up unruly crowds without guns.
That means fewer civilian casualties, a key ingredient to success in Iraq.
"We've been perfecting the art of the lethal since Cain and Abel," said Marine Corps Col. Kirk Hymes, director of the Defense Department's Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate.
The goal now, he said, is to provide U.S. troops in hostile environments with a way to respond that is more potent than shouting but less final than shooting. To do so in a package that is safe, mobile and sturdy enough to withstand the rigors of combat shouldn't be rushed.
"We don't want to hand the operating forces a science project," Hymes said.
The system just completed a lengthy demonstration phase and is expected to receive a $25 million boost once Congress approves an Iraq war supplemental spending bill. The money will be used to buy five "Silent Guardians," a commercial version of the denial system built by defense contractor Raytheon.
"The systems themselves could be manufactured more than likely within 12 months if everything goes according to what Raytheon tells us," Hymes said.
An existing test unit, known as System 2, sits on a flatbed truck and will be the first to go to Iraq.
While delivery schedules might be murky, there's no denying the system's punch. To be hit by the invisible beam is to feel the intense heat of a suddenly opened furnace. The instant reaction is to move. Fast.
At Quantico, a Marine Corps base south of Washington, a test unit mounted on a Humvee stung reporters and military personnel who volunteered to enter a circle marked off by orange traffic cones.
The system is a directed-energy device, although not a laser or a microwave. It uses a large, dish-shaped antenna and a long, V-shaped arm to send an invisible beam of waves to a target as far away as 500 yards.
With the unit mounted on the back of a vehicle, U.S. troops can operate a safe distance from rocks, Molotov cocktails and small-arms fire.
The beam penetrates the skin slightly, just enough to cause intense pain. The beam goes through clothing as well as windows, but can be blocked by thicker materials, such as metal, wood or concrete.
Hymes said hiding behind a car or a sheet of plywood might temporarily protect a person. But in doing so, potential combatants "effectively render themselves immobile trying to get out of the way," he said.
The most determined volunteer lasted only a few seconds Thursday. The stinging was done by Senior Airman Robert Hudspeth, a 21-year-old senior airman from Florida. Sitting in the Humvee nearly 800 yards away from the circle, Hudspeth used a joy stick and a computer screen to send the beam on its way.
"It's pretty simple to use," said Hudspeth, who's been training on the denial system for the past three months. "You control everything from this computer."
There's been no shortage of commanders asking for the tool.
In August 2003, Richard Natonski, a Marine Corps brigadier general who had just returned from Iraq, filed an "urgent" request with officials in Washington for the energy-beam device.
A year later, Natonski, by then promoted to major general, again asked for the system, saying a compact and mobile version was "urgently needed," particularly in urban settings.
In October 2004, the commander of the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force "enthusiastically" endorsed Natonski's request. Lt. Gen. James Amos said it was "critical" for Marines in Iraq to have the system.
American commanders in Iraq also have asked to buy Raytheon's device.
A Dec. 1, 2006, urgent request signed by Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Robert Neller sought eight Silent Guardians.
Neller, then the deputy commander of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force in Iraq, called the lack of such a non-lethal weapon a "chronic deficiency" that "will continue to harm" efforts to resolve showdowns with as little firepower as possible.
October 26th, 2007  
Very interesting. A non-lethal weapon system like this could be very effective if employed properly. It's definitely a better solution than shooting someone.
October 26th, 2007  
A Can of Man
With modern day ROEs, it's a godsend.

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