back to article US fires up crowd-roasting microwave gun

The US military has finally rolled out its Silent Guardian - a 95GHz millimetre wave "active denial system" designed to "repel individuals or crowds without causing injury". The weapon - mounted atop a Humvee - reportedly has a range of 500 metres within which it heats its targets' skin to 50°C. According to the BBC, …


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  1. John Latham


    The BBC article also states "It can penetrate clothes, suddenly heating up the skin of anyone in its path to 50C. "

    I wonder how it differentiates skin and clothes? Presumably you'd be safe wearing head-to-toe animal skin, or even wet clothes.

    Expect a "rash" of gimpily-dressed insurgents any time soon....

  2. Jorge


    Trim it down a bit, make it portable perhaps and you have a class of torture equipment that's in a league of its own.

    Because this thing works instantaneously and over a long distance, people are going to be caught in the middle of it and have to endure excruciating pain for much longer than the few seconds it would take to dissuade them from proceeding with their plans.

    What will this do in crowds: the most massive panic you ever saw in a large crowd because -everybody- will feel the same pain and -everybody- will want to go away immediately. Whether or not this happens after a few seconds or a few minutes [depending on who is pushing the button on the thing] a massive wave of panic is going to make people flee in every direction. This will cause numerous people to be trampled in the stampede.

    In portable units, the beam will be focused on someone who will not be able to escape and who, in our time-honoured tradition, will be made to suffer the most unspeakable pain until someone gets bored and decides it's enough... for today.

    The makers of this device should see their children placed in front of this monstrosity and watch them as 24 hours of the thing working on full power go by. It's cold, it's callous, it's heartless, yes it is. But they have to be shown how it will be used and what it does to people they care about. Because, as with all weapons that we invent, this too will be abused in the most heinous way possible by people without scruples who do not care about the suffering of their fellow man.

    We have more than enough problems in the world today, the last thing we need is -yet another- way to inflict pain on one another. And I don't care about the less-than-lethal argument. It's in the same class as the 'but the terrorists' argument that the world is using to legally impose the most invasive intrusions into people's personal lives in the history of the species.

  3. Daniel King

    Microwave gun?

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but are there not studies that prove that energies in this wavelength can cause an increased risk for cancer?

    Anyone who uses this dastardly device is putting themselves at risk for MAJOR litigation down the road. Whole CROWDS of people with melanoma all blaming the government/police for their rampant melanomas...

    Rampant, I say!


  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Safe Protesting

    Would wrapping oneself in kitchen foil to create a Faraday Cage make one immune to this weapon?

  5. Micha Roon

    Canned Protests

    I see there is an emerging market for metal clothing for protesters. As a simple sheet of aluminum paper stops things in my microwave from heating up, I believe the same effect can be achieved here.

    The good old water canon still has a future. Be it only to spray the protesters before heating up the water and cook them up with the silent defender.

    The crucial question being: how many tons of battery do you need to fire this baby for a minute?

  6. Richard Rae

    Metal anyone?

    well, talk about useless.... Nice new torture tool to add to the US Army arsenal though. The people in guantanamo must be shitting themselves!

    Anyhow, easy cure.... where a tin sheet... that should reflect the rays, do it right and you could fry the gun or the floor knuckle dragging soldier holding it. Wonder how long that would take him to work it out....


  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    How difficult would it be to create shielding to divert the radiation or even to refocus it back towards the source?

  8. David Roberts

    Factor 5,000 anyone?

    Apart from various grades of reflective and/or impervious clothing, presumably a 'microwave screen' similar to the commonly available 'sun screen' might reflect this?

    Abre Demo anyone?

    I also presume that smaller ones (babies, kittens, birds etc.) with a less favourable surface area to volume ratio may suffer more from this heating effect?

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Death Settings

    Wonder if they would put different 'settings' on the device?

    a stun mode, a 3rd degree burn mode and 'melt' mode...

    Melt mode would be good, it'd be like something from Mars Attacks (the movie)

  10. Nìall Tracey

    What does it do to your eyeballs?

    If it's switched on pointing at your face, what does 50 degrees mean to the corneas? Do the waves penetrate to the retina?

    And what about any other balls you may have on your person? The male reproductive organs are not surrounded by the thickest skin on the planet...

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    a simple defense

    The most simple defense against such weapons is a wooden board with one side covered with a metal sheet. For protesters, the metal side can be painted with some text to look like a banner. In case such weapon is used, the target has to duck behind this home made microwave shield. Wood or other padding material is required for heat shielding because the metal plate will be hot. Also, several techniques exist to reflect microwaves back to the source, effectively burning the operators of the system. Apparently the only real use of this weapon is against unprepared, unarmed and unarmored civilians.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Pregnant women...

    I can think of hundreds of things that might go wrong with this crazy idea. One -- this thing can really be dangerous to pregnant women. Two -- reduction of sperm count. Well, those were just two ... off the top of my head.

    May we could use this thing to run George W. Bush ass out of the White House while Bill Clinton is havin' some nice, oral sex. Oh, I love it.

  13. Nick

    Pacemaker failure, anyone??

    And what about the poor sods with pacemakers? Instant death sentence for protesting?

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    1/64th of an inch into the skin - stupids!

    Nuff said to those sperm count, pacemaker wearers and pregnant women arguers.

    Also how many pacemaker users do you suppose would find themselves in civil riots or wartorn areas?!

    However trampling on pregnant women in the rush to get away would be somewhat dangerous.

    I do however think the idea is completely flawed - latest defence in the face of high tech weaponry = a compact mirror! Reflect it back to the source.

    Also could very well be the newest source of malignant melanoma cases. You'd have a job proving it though.

  15. Jason


    Microwaves are non-ionizing radiation; they are not high enough energy to cause DNA damage. It is believed that microwaves, no matter how strong, don't have risk of causing cancer.

  16. Leonard

    Kill'em all

    After reading the comments here it looks like the US military would be better off shooting people.

    Don't complain when people try to replace a lethal weapon with a non-lethal one. I doubt this was researched to save money on bullets.

  17. Bob Hannent

    non-ionising Radiation

    Jason is correct, the information I have from microwave safety work I have done says that microwave heating cannot cause cancer precisely because it does not ionise the tissues with enough energy.

    The biggest problem I have with this weapon is the fact that it is likely that it acts directly on the soft tissues, primarily the nerves and it burns them. I used to work with a guy who had suffered radio frequency burns and he said it was one of the most painful experiences and not just in the short term. Another soft tissue that gets damaged by RF radiation is the eye, it can boil the tissues in the eyes causing them to go opaque giving long term vision problems.

    Seems like a stupid weapon that will encourage protesters to carry defensive metal objects!

  18. A J Stiles

    for vegan protestors

    A friend of mine had an excellent idea for dealing with protestors, at least vegan / vegetarian ones. Instead of the traditional WATER cannon, use a GRAVY cannon!

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What about ME? I LIVE in this insane country!

    WHY am I not at all surprised by my so-called "democratic" country's latest insult to humanity? It's certain that our tax dollars are spent less and less on health care and social services and more on more ways to help maniacs in the Army, White House and NSA find ways to torture and spy on U.S. citizens! The last protest march I went to in Washington, during the El Salvador elections in the '80's, was scary enough (snipers on rooftops, motorcycle cops shoving the crowd)...Now that I'm too old and worn-out for physical protest, they've made sure the younger, hardier dissenters will be to terrified of getting their eyes burnt out or having their babies born cooked, to show up for a protest! Can I move to England, please?!

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