by Senior Airman Danielle Quilla
6th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs
2/3/2016 - MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- The
Department of Defense (DoD) Non-Lethal Weapons Program has developed
technology capable of supporting the operational needs of the U.S. Armed
Forces without harming non-combatants and limiting collateral damage.
A two-day demonstration of the Active Denial System (ADS) was held on
Jan. 27 - 28 at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida, to educate members of
Team MacDill about the technology and give volunteers a firsthand
"We do these demonstrations all the time to educate and demonstrate the
capability of the non-lethal technology," said Brian Long, a DoD
active-denial technology program manager. "It represents a leap forward
in non-lethal capability, in that; it provides a longer range versus the
current items in inventory."
Having a longer range and reversible effects are key features of the
ADS, which gives U.S. Service members an alternative to using deadly
force. The technology is intended to be used during crowd control,
checkpoint and perimeter security and as protection during convoys and
Before the demonstration, the ADS was positioned 500 meters away from
where the volunteers would be standing; however, its range can reach up
to 1,000 meters.
Once ready, each volunteer stood in a designated area marked with cones
and held two thumbs up. Within seconds, an intolerable heating sensation
of about 120 degrees covered the individual's body, making them
instinctively close their eyes and move away from the area.
As soon as the volunteers moved out of the beam their skin instantly returned to a normal temperature.
Since the ADS projects a beam of millimeter waves at a frequency of 95
gigahertz, it only penetrates the skin at a depth of about 1/64th of an
inch, which is equivalent to three sheets of paper.
More than 15 years of research and more than 13,000 exposures from
volunteers participating in static demonstrations and realistic
operational assessments have proven the effectiveness of the non-lethal
weapon and its minimal risk of injury.
In addition, detailed testing has determined that the beam does not cause cancer.
U.S. Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Jose Grimaldo is a non-lethal team member
of the Capabilities and Requirements Division with the Joint Non-Lethal
Weapons Directorate. This demonstration was his first time experiencing
the heating sensation since being assigned to the unit in 2015, and he
compared the sensation to the feeling of heat coming from an oven.
"I can see this as something going into the future," Grimaldo said. "It
would be very beneficial if the technology could be condensed to be used
out there in the U.S. Armed Forces."
The Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Program is continuing to invest in
advancing active-denial technology for users who are interested in a
smaller and more mobile configuration for urban environments.
The ADS is just one non-lethal weapon developed by the DoD Non-Lethal
Weapons Program designed to save lives, protect the innocent, and limit
collateral damage while effectively repelling adversaries.