As you know, I enjoy sharing interesting tidbits from the tech world, especially those that somehow, someway migrate into the military world.
This latest innovation unearthed by Wired via the Freedom of Information Act -- conveniently coined the "Goodbye" weapon -- may be very problematic, however.
Under wraps for at least a decade, the Air Force's Active Denial System (ADS) shoots a beam of millimeter waves (radiation longer in wavelength than x-rays but shorter than microwaves), triggering a temporary burning response on a victim's skin within five seconds that's akin to molten lava, hence the "Goodbye" effect.
Although the military claims exposure to the ADS produces no lasting effects, who knows what type of long-term damage this weapon can do. You can bet your bottom dollar it was not tested for any long-range damage, but only for the fact that it does not kill people acutely.
This sounds very similar to the many justifications made by big business that allow cellular phones to be circulated in the general population. You can be assured, however, this far more potentially dangerous radiation has more serious side effects. Fortunately, it will be used only once on most people ...
The ADS reminds me in some ways of the TASER, which does not kill you but can't possibly contribute to your long-term health. While not considered technically lethal, the evidence, so far, has proven otherwise: The TASER has killed more than 150 people to date.