Reporting on cutting-edge new military gadgetry gives this UK journalist, the Daily Mail’s Michael Hanlon, an unpleasant dose of the reality of modern warfare—and leads him to wonder about the significance, and possible uses of, Raytheon’s new “Silent Guardian” mega-zapper.
A square transmitter as big as a plasma TV screen is mounted on the back of a Jeep.
When turned on, it emits an invisible, focused beam of radiation—similar to the microwaves in a domestic cooker—that are tuned to a precise frequency to stimulate human nerve endings.
It can throw a wave of agony nearly half a mile.
Because the beam penetrates skin only to a depth of 1/64th of an inch, it cannot, says Raytheon, cause visible, permanent injury.
But anyone in the beam’s path will feel, over their entire body, the agonising sensation I’ve just felt on my fingertip. The prospect doesn’t bear thinking about.
“I have been in front of the full-sized system and, believe me, you just run. You don’t have time to think about it—you just run,” says George Svitak, a Raytheon executive.
According to the corporate website, Raytheon’s “Silent Guardian” is best described as “a revolutionary, less-than-lethal, directed energy application.” Ouch.