It's Like a Heatwave Burnin' In the Subcutaneous Layer of Your Skin

Illustration for article titled It's Like a Heatwave Burnin' In the Subcutaneous Layer of Your Skin

The terms "U.S. Marines" and "non-lethal" seem pretty antithetical to each other, but the Leathernecks are close putting in an order for Raytheon's Silent Guardian millimeter wave defense system. As far as non-lethal weapons go, this one's pretty hardcore - it slowly cooks you from the inside. But they swear it will stop before it does any "permanent damage."Silent Guardian is basically an antenna that can fire a targeted beam of "millimeter wave energy" up to about 250 yards. It creates a very painful burning sensation in the target by...well, cooking the subcutaneous layer of their skin, about 1/64 of an inch below the surface. The shallow penetration of the beam and some vaguely described safety overrides prevent it from killing or doing lasting harm, and as soon as you step (make that, run) away from the beam, the burning goes away. Unfortunately, it seems that some of the people who participated in safety tests on the beam (including a journalist from Wired's Danger Room) have recently discovered that those tests were far from safe. Which begs the question: Is this really a nonlethal weapon? If it turns out to be safe, the Silent Guardian could be used to protect checkpoints and base entrances, and for weekend cookouts. I'm thinking of ordering one to mount on the Apocalypsemobile, but only to keep me warm while racing on January 1st. Image by: DOD Buzz. Marines fund non-lethal heat ray. [Defense Tech]



These machines are all considered non-lethal until they have gone into use and someone drops dead. Or many people drop dead.

Remember, the taser is promoted as non-lethal, too. How many people have died from being tased?