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back to article US to export riot-roasting raygun

The United States is to export its crowd-grilling "less lethal" microwave cannon, the Silent Guardian - which has never been deployed by US forces due to worries over bad publicity - to an unnamed foreign ally. Aviation Week reports today that executives from American arms megacorp Raytheon, makers of the famous yet seldom- …

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Megaphone

Pentagon hush-up pointless ?

So when the US ally fires it for the first time at a mob do the Pentagon think no media will be present (or worst, in the line of fire) ?

No so much a death gun gun but it looks like one

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Big Brother

Eeek!

Aren't we a US ally? Mind you, it would give the tabloids a new use for the word "roasting" (usually associated with footballers at the moment).

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Beta testing.

I can see the plan.

1) Foreign Ally uses mob-roasting tech. Everyone runs away and nobody gets seriously hurt. Pentagon high-fives, goes "nyaah, nyaah, we told you so" and rolls it out to every far-flung corner of the globe where they have more than one person and a dog stationed.

2) Foreign Ally deploys crowd crisper in anger and several microwavees go to the great Breville in the sky as an effect. Pentagon high-fives and issues a press release stating how kind, cuddly and sensible they were to not use this obviously evil technology.

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Old school

Is it just me, or does that look it's just stepped straight out of the WarGames era of the 80's?

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FAIL

Tin foil hat.

Wouldn't a layer of chicken wire worn by rioters render this raygun useless?

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Unhappy

Silent Guardian

Instead of Silent Guardian, they should have called it Remote Person Broiler.

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Anonymous Coward

lol

People don't like it because it uses microwaves and everyone knows that they're dangerous - it's like radiation innit.

Again peoples knowledge of radiation consisting of watching "class of nuke'em high" and hearing about Chernobyl.

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Boffin

@Tin foil hat

At 94Ghz, the wavelength is around 3.2mm, meaning the chicken wire would have to be of significantly finer mesh than that for proper protection. Maybe 1mm holes might be okay, but a complete tinfoil suit is probably the best option.

On the other hand, most riots are probably too spontaneous for people to think "Hmm... I wonder if I'll be involved in a riot and targeted with a sinister directed-energy weapon today. Shall I put on my tinfoil suit? Nah, maybe tomorrow."

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Big Brother

Of course, it's not going to be on a vehicle...

...it's actually going to be set up in a police HQ cellar in Cairo, Riyadh, Amman or somewhere of similar politics.

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@Symon

Yup! Just like putting a lightbulb in a microwave has absolutely no effect whatsoever...

Oh, no, actually it glows white hot. http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=microwave+lightbulb&search_type=&aq=f

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@Symon

Its a little known fact that the USA is the worlds biggest exporter of chicken wire.

A win-win situaton for the USA, no matter what end of the BBQ ray you happen to be standing at...

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my guess...

...would be a sale to IsraHell for continued ethnic cleansing operations against the Palestinians.

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Fairly handy then

For less-lethal activities such as torture. Uncle Sam, we thank you very very politely indeed.

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Grenade

Re: Silent Guardian

RPB is still better than RPG ya know...

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Coat

Come on we all know who the ally is

It'll be us, it's always us. Good 'ole blighty. To help the 'Met keep the riots under control when people finally say enough is enough and storm the houses of parliament. Or they will say that they need ti to fight terrorism (we all know terrorists move round in packs afterall)

Mines the one in tin foil thanks.

AC for obvious reasons.

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Big Brother

@AC, "no media present"

It's pretty likely that this has gone to an "ally" who's not to bothered about human rights - some barbarian country like Saudi Arabia, for instance. And the chances are pretty good that it'll never be used for crowd control. I'm sure the Saudis would love to have a way of torturing multiple people at once, so they can just cable-tie their political prisoners in a row, park this in front of them and zap them all in one go.

That's also a bit of a problem with "non-lethal" or "less lethal". Because all these "less lethal" weapons work by causing severe pain to the victim, they all work as torture devices too, and in that case the victim will be subjected to unlimited doses of it which probably will be lethal. And it'll only be lethal after a long period of agony.

So these things are very not clever, and the guys responsible for building it really do want to look at their consciences. Not the Raytheon bosses, they probably don't have them, but the lower-level engineers. Someone has to design the electronics, order the parts, build the vehicle, etc.. Nice day's work, guys.

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Locusts?

Fine that they can use these rayguns on easy targets like crowds of people, but can they use them to deal with swarms of locusts?

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It really is called Raytheon! I though the was one of the registers names for it!

It's even written on the side of the thing ala Batman or Thunderbirds. Do the bad guy rioters need to wear t-shirts with there name in big letters on too?

It also looks quite big, I think the guards at the Iranian nuclear facilities will see the Israelis trying to move it in to position before tehy get to test it.

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@lIsRT

oh no, surely it's going to the Israelis, the faithful consumers of (hugely discounted) Raytheon goods.

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Coat

And which US ally would that be...

Let's see. We are looking for:

- a country that's concidered a 'very good ally', since this is top-notch technology

- a country that's heavily troubled

- a country that may have a record for use of questionable weapons

- a country that has to cope with large groups of scarsely armed/unarmed angry people

I'll put my money on ISRAEL, for use against the Palestinese population.

Mine's the bullet-proof vest with the slingshot in the pocket.

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Terminator

Money to be made here!

It's not tin foil hats, I'm going to start exporting tinfoil turbans...

<kerchang>

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Anonymous Coward

Riot control or 'enhanced interrogation'?

The difference between a riot and a demonstration is often in the eye of the beholder, not to mention police/troops charged with deliberately escalating matters until the use of force on both sides becomes inevitable. And how long before smaller more portable units are used to 'interview' suspects in all those countries we use to salve our own conscience about such things?

At least some of the riots/demonstrations in this world could be avoided at a stroke by nations like the USA and the UK getting the hell out of countries where they're not welcomed by the populations, no matter how many governmental palms they've greased.

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Flame

RE: lol

I think you've been reading another story and another comments section, AC. People object to this technology because it is designed to burn people's skin -- it's actual intended purpose is to hurt people and it could quite easily be used to torture protesters.

I can see these being deployed at the next demonstration in the UK.

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@ Christopher P. Martin

I'd expect a tinfoil on cardboard sheild would do the same job. Refraction around the edges would'nt be too much and easier to keep whole in a rioting mob than a tin foil suit.

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Flame

Burning "Sensation"

Is that "sensation" used in the same sense as "simulated" is when discussing water boarding/ "simulated drowning".

So the ray gun does burn you then dosn't it.

And unlike a rubber bullet, the ray-theon targets the whole crowd, not the thug leading the charge.

It's all wrong on sooooo many levels.

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Anonymous Coward

I wonder

if a suit of maile (AKA chain mail) would do the job. Would pobably have to be made from 5mm rings though...

But mylar would probably be best.

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Coat

The only reason the US haven't used it

is because if a wayward teaspoon is left in the line of fire, the whole unit blows up in a massive blue spark.

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Flame

Could our mystery guest ally sign in please!

So who do we think it is? Iraq? Pakistan? Afghanistan? Israel? Maybe the UAE? How about Libya? All friends of the US, all of them advocating torture in some form or another.

So what happens if you're in the middle of a crowd when this thing gets turned on and there's no way to disperse quickly? How bad does the burning get? Just as likely is that it will be set up in some torture chamber where there are no prying eyes. If so then we can expect a new wave of counter-terrorism arrests based on information gathered through torture on foreign soil.

I can see would-be protesters building similar weapons out of microwave ovens to protect themselves now.

Flames for obvious reasons.

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effect on metal implants

what effect would this have on implants, both medically necessary & near the surface, and metal fillings, and decorative piercings (nose etc). I've no idea.

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@I Wonder

Or indeed, a large mirror?

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Black Helicopters

Mirrors?

Could the microwave ray be reflected and cause the offending unit to self destruct?

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Anonymous Coward

eye cataracts

The main hazard of exposure to microwave radiation is ocular cataracts: an occupational hazard of radar workers discovered shortly after WW2. This of course occurred at much lower energy levels than those that would be generated by a weapon designed to incapacitate people. The cataracts would probably develop some years after exposure. If in a few years time there is an epidemic of blindness from cataracts among the Palestinians, we'll know why.

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Big Brother

I'm frying tonight!

@lIsRT: Thanks for the disturbing image. It hadn't occured to me it would be very effective as a torture weapon, but in hindsight the scary thing is, I suspect you could be right.

@Danny van der Weide

Let's see. We are looking for:

"- a country that's concidered a 'very good ally', since this is top-notch technology" ... how about the UK?!

"- a country that's heavily troubled" ... Yep, the UK.

"- a country that may have a record for use of questionable weapons" ... Does inflicting Jacqui Smith on us count as a weapon?

"- a country that has to cope with large groups of scarsely armed/unarmed angry people" ... Yep, the UK!

I think that settles it. We are all doomed and now we will even fry in our own personal hell. :)

@Graham Bartlett: "It's pretty likely that this has gone to an "ally" who's not to bothered about human rights" - yikes! thats another reason to think the UK! :)

... I don't know why I'm laughing. I should be packing my bags before they knock on my door to drag me off into Room 101 where I could work on my tan under one of these things.

Joking aside, as this causes pain now, then what would happen if they upped the power even more? ... say 10 times or even 100 times more?. That sounds very much like a true death ray. So next generation warfare here we come. Turn up the dial from, warm, hot, bloody-hot, now-that-hurts all the way up to OMG-I'm-On-Fire and ARRGHH!-I'm-turning-to-dust-while-melting!.

What a nightmare world we are creating. Dystopia here we come! ... (But then that's a Utopia for the people in power, which is why we are all being dragged down this way).

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FAIL

People are scum

So THEY don't want you to be where it inconveniences them, and they'll cook you if you don't leave but it's ok because there is plausible deniability why you start feeling you taste like chicken.

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Unhappy

What a horrid thing...

Look straight at it and get your corneas broiled off. Nice.

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Anonymous Coward

@RISC OS

No - Raytheon is the (unfortunate in this instance) name of the company that makes the toy in question - look them up.

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Coat

Mines the one with the built in Faraday cage

http://www.lessemf.com/personal.html

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Black Helicopters

@ Andy Neale

No, you're thinking of our other nifty death weapon, the airborne chemical laser. In order to reflect these you'd need a suitable piece of metal:

http://www.howeverythingworks.org/page1.php?QNum=1579

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Pirate

Corner reflector

Three sides of a cube cut off and lined with foil will reflect all incoming RF right back from whence it came.

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Grenade

jeez....

get a grip...blighty ain't that bad....the number of whiners in the UK is the only problem we have !

You don't know how lucky you are......

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Two things

Of course, by using it to boil people, crowd control via "kettling" will have a whole new meaning.

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Anonymous Coward

Not quite the only problem...

"get a grip...blighty ain't that bad....the number of whiners in the UK is the only problem we have !"

No... we also have the twin problem of the "Ignore all the warnings - we're British - nothing bad can ever happen!" brigade...

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Unsuspecting

Often there are two types of comments on things like this: the people running around and screaming and those who insist nothing is as dangerous as anyone ever makes out. Credit to The Reg for attracting more reasonable readers! On the other hand, the comments are more interesting than the story in this case...

There is no doubt about it - this machine is a torture device, there's no way around that. Prolonged pain with apparently no side effects. Well, there certainly are. Aside from the fact that the likelihood of cancer is cumulative with time, and therefore this gun like all radiators of EM energy increases your chances of disease, it physically heats your skin in order to cause pain. Just like being microwaved briefly, or touching a hot object.

So sure, assuming it isn't the blast that knocks a DNA strand in one of your important cells, you are likely to recover from any burning or boiling that it might cause you, just like you would after an accident in the kitchen.

The operational scenario is likely to be one where people get a few quick blasts, recoil from the heat and all is OK. But if someone tries to run away, and accidentally runs in the direction that the beam is sweeping, or the operator gets a bit trigger happy, the burns caused could easily lead to loss of fluids, shock and even death. And that's just burnt skin. If the burns run deep, who knows how much damage could be caused. This could well be targeted at someone's face.

What's more, where in the Western world does a crowd hostile enough to warrant such a weapon ever accumulate!? Surely this was only ever designed for war-torn countries, or are riots anticipated by the powers-that-be, perhaps due to the legislation they wish to pass that removes our last human rights?

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Flame

Furthermore

I bet the ally is Isreal; and can't help but wonder who did the testing for this product? Did the Engineers gather up some stray farm animals and see what the effects were?

I guess you don't test a gun by pointing it at someone, but how can they claim it's less than lethal without having done so?

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Shrink Ray

Give it to the Japanese and they'll shrink it down to a Walkman sized box in less than a year.

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Anonymous Coward

Nice clean shiny...

Surely this will be used to cleanse bulk amounts of filthy people...

I imagine that the microwave radiation will be most efficient at killing of fleas and lice from large numbers of people all at once.

Israel probably sees this as a nice alternative to sending Palestinians into compulsory 'showers'. You know, the showers where people go in but don't come out again...

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Black Helicopters

Raytheon --> vacuum tubes

(They go back that far)

One of the big three.

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Coat

No problem...

Chicken wire will not work, but there are two types of window 'screen' material; fiberglass or stainless. The screen material is what is often put over the opening of a window to prevent bugs from entering a home when the window is open. Spacing is near 1mm which may just work..

I can also see ring-maille coming back in vogue..

http://theringlord.com/cart/shopdisplayproducts.asp?id=96&cat=Chainmail+Clothing&websess=76775529167677

http://theringlord.com/cart/shopdisplayproducts.asp?id=95&cat=Sheets+of+Maille&websess=76775529167677

Positively Medieval.

--mine is the full length trenchcoat weighing in at 10kg..

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Cataracts

I too would be concerned about the cataract potential of this device. Isn't there a Geneva convention restriction on weapons intended to blind? Of course, it is OK if the blinding is merely a side effect, and I suppose since the intended use of this device is on civilians, the Geneva convention probably does not apply.

The rule of thumb that I recall is that the holes in the mesh should be less than 10% of the wavelength. Mesh with large holes does no good at all. Still, you can see quite well through a fine mesh if it is close to your eyes.

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Big Brother

How lucky do you feel?

"get a grip... You don't know how lucky you are......"

Nice. That argument can be applied all the way to the "psychiatric rehabilitation" center in the bowels of the Ministry of Love.

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