The Pentagon's pain beam weapon could get tougher, smaller, more powerful, and more mobile under a series of new research and development projects. And that could pave the way for the so-called "Active Denial System" to finally be sent to war.
The Pentagon first unveiled ADS in 2001. But in spite of repeated calls to send the system to Iraq for crowd control, the weapon has been held up by a series of legal, political, and technical issues. However, recent contracts may show the way forward for ADS, which zaps the target with a painful, but mostly harmless, microwave blast. The idea is to start building 20 of the revamped systems, beginning in three years.
First off, the pain weapons are going to get tougher. The military is fit the system into an Mine Resistant, Ambush Protected (MRAP) armored vehicle that has become the infantry transport of choice overseas. System 1 of the ADS was mounted in a Hummer, System 2 is a containerized system that takes a sizable truck to haul it. Which sounds like a recipe for turning the beam weapon into a sitting duck. No wonder the military is calling for "studies for the integration of Directed Energy Non-lethal Active Denial Key Systems onto mine resistant armored personnel (MRAP) vehicles."