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Kirtland to test non-lethal weapon

Associated Press
March 1, 2001

A nonlethal weapon designed to incapacitate people by firing pain-causing micro-millimeter waves will be tested at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M.

The weapon’s existence was first made public in March 5 issues of Marine Corps Times.

It’s the kind of pain you would feel if you were being burned, said Rich Garcia, a spokesman for the Air Force Research Laboratory at the base. It’s just not intense enough to cause any damage.

A prototype of the military weapon will be tested on goats and humans at Kirtland in the next few months, he said.

The program, dubbed active denial technology, could be used for riot control and peacekeeping missions when deadly force is not necessary, officials said.

The device works by firing micro-millimeter waves that penetrate just beneath a person’s skin, heating it by a few dozen degrees and causing severe pain.

When it penetrates in, it activates the pain sensors, and you feel a lot of pain, Garcia said. But there’s no damage.

The Marine Corps, which is heading the military’s effort to develop nonlethal weapons, ultimately hopes to mount the microwave weapon on top of Humvees.

At Kirtland, 80 human volunteers, primarily scientists and military personnel associated with the program, will undergo full-body tests, Garcia said.

March 1, 2001


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