David Fulghum beat me to the punch on this one, but to add to his post this morning I want to add a bit on how I got shot earlier this week. Wrapping up a conversation with Raytheon’s Shawn Miller, of the company’s Active Denial Capture Team about the company’s “Silent Guardian” non-lethal directed energy weapon at AUSA, he asked “Do you want to get shot?”
Never one to walk away from a little directed energy, Miller led me over an area where I put my hand in front of a laser designator, and he positioned himself off to the side with a handheld controller. He counted down, “3…2…1” and the area on my hand where the laser pinpointed started to get hot. Real hot. So much so that after a few seconds, I had to pull it out of the way.
If I didn’t know what has happening, I would have been out of there in a hurry.
What Miller was demonstrating at the Raytheon booth was the company’s new, non-lethal directed energy weapon, for which the U.S. government allotted $25 million in this past summer’s war supplemental funding bill for five systems. While no formal contract has been signed just yet, Miller said that “we’re in negotiations with the government right now as to how the program is going to be set up.”
Essentially a smaller version of the company’s Active Denial Systems, the Silent Guardian’s unclassified range is greater than 250 meters from a stationary firing system that has 360 degree coverage. At 95 gigahertz, the weapon emits millimeter wave energy that penetrates only about 1/64th of an inch under your skin, right about where your thermal pain receptors are, triggering your pain receptors and producing a pain sensation similar to burning. Once you pull away form the beam, however, the pain subsides quickly, leaving no marks or permanent damage.
Since it is smaller than the Active Denial System, the Silent Guardian is better at singling individuals out of a crowd. As Miller said, “I could target you, but not hit the innocent bystander standing next to you.”
The system is joystick operated, meaning that the operator can zap targets from a safe, enclosed distance, while watching a video monitor. “We’re working with DOD, our team is ready to go, we have a full team in place to support the building of it, and the in-country logistics wherever they decide to use it.”