back to article US military's non-lethal weapon plans revealed

Details of the US military’s wish-list for non-lethal devices have been published online and show some interesting new technologies, as well as some more familiar ones that are to be beefed up. The non-lethal weapons (NLW) book was posted online by researchers at Public Intelligence, and covers both existing weapons currently …


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  1. Graham Marsden
    Thumb Down

    "Non-Lethal Weapons"?

    Or just "Not Very Lethal" with acceptable (to the US Military etc) levels of "Collateral Damage"?

    1. laird cummings

      Would you prefer..

      ...that the research money be going into ways to turn angry crowds into a nice homogeneous red mist, instead? And what *is* your specific objection to research in this direction? Or are you just knee-jerking?

      1. Graham Marsden

        @laird cummings

        What I would prefer is for the US not to need such devices by realising that they're not Team America World Police and to stop trying to win "Hearts and Minds" by barging their way into a country and saying "We're going to liberate you so you can have a wonderful American style Democracy! (Whether you want it or not.)"

        Mostly the only reason they need these devices to deal with crowds in the first place is because they're somewhere that they are *NOT WANTED* and the crowds just want them to get out of *their* country.

        1. Figgus


          You might be suprised, but this idea is starting to gain ground with the citizens here.

          Ironically, the one guy who talks this plan on a serious level is a "conservative"...

          1. Graham Marsden
            Thumb Up


            I'm glad to hear it, but as for the guy being "conservative", well when you've got a choice between voting for the Right Wing Candidate or the *really* Right Wing Candidate...!

            1. Figgus


              Well, I gotta be honest, I disagree with the candidates on the left, at least fiscally... and right now, fiscally is the only thing that matters.

        2. laird cummings

          Go on telling yourself that line. Sing yourself to sleep with it, maybe - that's the only benefit you're going to get from it.

          So long as the rest of the world's nations keep refusing to deal with their own messes, you're going to have us (or US, if you prefer). Yes, that's right - Saudi Arabia wants us involved. And Korea wants us involved. And Tiawan wants us involved. And the UAE wants us involved. And what about that late bit of nastiness in Balkans..? Wait.. Didn't *that* require a US presence too, before Euorpe would show up to help clean up it's own back yard..? Why yes, yes it did.

          So... Since much of the rest of the world is highly unlikely to man-up and deal with their own messes any time soon, I guess it *is* Team America time. And for that, best we have some options along... Or, we can do it your way, and go back to just killing them all and let their diety of choice sort things out.

          1. Graham Marsden

            @laird cummings

            Fuck Yeah!!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      It's termed less than lethal, but even that is a bit of a misnomer.

  2. 404 Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    IDK about the laser blinding...

    I have retina burns from the eighties being on the wrong end of an M1 Abrams' target range laser.... 2600 meters away. Used to practice ranging birds in flight - you lase them and they do the most interesting acrobatics - messes them up.

    So, I have my doubts about my government's intentions concerning non-lethal anything, especially in light of Obama signing the latest defense bill where the Feds can now hold American citizens indefinitely without trial or charges.

    Considered posting anon, but find me they will if they want to - El Reg? Help them and I'll send Ted Leaf after you... would be honestly surprised if he hasn't been picked up already... guy's a loon.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I'll send Ted Leaf after you

      Good luck with that, I think you'll find that ted leaf is in fact a fat acne ridden 30 year old (with the mental age of a 13 year old kid), that still lives with his mummy and daddy.

      By now they've almost certainly got him back in his jammies and he's wanking himself blind as I write this, and so is in fact unfortunately unavailable for hitman missions.

    2. Christoph Silver badge

      That's terrible

      "the Feds can now hold American citizens indefinitely without trial or charges."

      You mean they can now treat real American Citizens just as if they were foreigners and therefore had no human rights whatever in US law?

      1. 404 Silver badge

        That is correct



      2. Figgus


        Human rights != Constitutional rights

        Being human doesn't make one a citizen, and conversely being a citizen doesn't seem to make one human.

  3. moiety

    Isn't deliberately blinding people against the rules?

    1. Ru


      Disabling enemy combatants probably is, but different rules apply to 'police action' against terrorists, civilians and other huddled masses YTBF etc. The US has already shown a large degree of flexibility when it comes to classifying prisoners, and I've no doubt it will be able to apply the same flexibility when it comes to determining blame after a vigorous session with their new Not Usually Lethal weaponry.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Rise Of The Machines

    By the nature of this weapons research it is bringing about the necessity for competitors to develop ever more capable and lethal killing machines, drones, and robots, which will be immune to many of these 'non lethal' weapons...

    But I suspect the main purpose of developing these cancer guns, permanent blinding guns, and disability guns, are to use against civilians inland and overseas.

  5. Anonymous Coward

    Blinding Lasers?

    ...hope these are not permanent. Otherwise geneva conevtion and all that....ah but then we also presume the right to fair trial, the prohibition of torture and the banning of detention without trial.

    Still USofA. the land of the free and all that; well unless they decide they don't agree with your point of view.

    1. laird cummings

      Actually, you've kinda mis-quoted the conventions. It's only *perminant* harm that's outlawed, and even then, only if it's the *intent* to perminantly blind. Tricksy folks, them diplomats - very carefully made sure to leave *everyone* an out to do what they want. The US is just more inventive at it, these days (Past thought-leaders include Germany, France, the USSR, the UK, and others).

      And it's hardly like we're the only nation out there with a bad attitude about people we don't like... Look around, open your eyes.

      But make sure you're wearing your mirror shades when you do.

  6. h4rm0ny

    Civillian use

    The US want these for their military not for warfare, but for population control (obviously). You don't use these things for fighting enemy soldiers who are shooting at you, you use them for getting rid of crowds who are protesting or not getting out of your way when you tell them to: cases where just opening up with firearms would make you look bad to the few remaining people back home that think you're over there to liberate a country.

    As to legality, well you still need someone willing to prosecute under the Geneva conventions, otherwise the USA will continue to just redefine terms to make things legal. 'We're not using these weapons against another country. We're using them to help protect the legitimate government from insurgents. What? Of course it's the legitimate government - it's the one we've appointed ambassadors to.'

    1. Figgus

      We wouldn't need this crap at all if our leaders stopped treating our standing army as a police force.

      Let the rest of the world sort out their own problems. Our military is for flattening opponents, not rebuilding their country afterwards.

  7. Jonathon Green

    "Also on the list is a Distributed Sound and Light Array (DSLA) which combines lasers, other lighting and acoustics to disable opponents. The system is designed to disorient people, but may cause retinal scarring and ear damage if used at close range."

    I used to pay good money for that experience back in the '80s...

    1. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart

      Move along please, nothing new to see here...

      The 'merkins should just hire AC/DC's sound rig, allegedly rated at 500,000 watts, 115dB indoors in London, and generated noise complaints from 20km (12 miles) away when they played outdoors in Germany.,,25514249-5006301,00.html

      Combine that with a Pink Floyd light show, now that’s something that would distract me for hours.

      1. Christoph Silver badge


        They should use Disaster Area's rig. The one they controlled from a spaceship off-planet.

    2. The elephant in the room


      "...I seem to have left an important part of my brain somewhere

      Somewhere in a field in Hampshire"

  8. Tom 7 Silver badge

    US election year?


  9. You Are Not Free

    Whatever happened to

    That directional low frequency sound machine that made you shit yourself. You know, the one they tested on Braniacs and wore ear defenders to protect themselves against.

    That seems far more humorous than being blinded.

    1. Simon Neill

      Mythbusters did it too.

      And myth busted as far as they could tell.

      Of course, in both cases I would suggest that perhaps ear defenders are cheating. Although, I suppose if it IS defeated simply with ear defenders then its pretty useless as a weapon.

      1. stu 4

        playing fair

        I dunno - if I was an 'insurgent' and my choices were:

        1 - charge at enemy and maybe get blasted at with sound

        2 - wear headphones,therefore forcing enemy to shoot me in the face.

        I'd plop for 1 everytime.

        1. hplasm Silver badge

          You would 'plop' for 1 every time-

          If '1' was the mythical 'brown note' alright...

  10. Shades

    Nonsensical Hyperbole

    "will blind people for ten seconds and subject them to a bowel-watering 143 decibels"

    Bowel-watering? I'm guessing either "bowel-loosening" or, at a stretch, "pant-wetting" was intended but got merged by the CPU's hyperbole algorithm before being sent to the output device(s)?

  11. Anonymous Coward

    "hearts and minds"

    The most overused phrase of the last 10 years.

  12. b166er

    How about vortex cannons?

    1. Ben 38

      Vortex cannons?

      Ah, good old vortex cannons...

  13. Evil Auditor Silver badge

    Re not leaving chunks of their hearts and minds strewn everywhere

    But leaving them blind and deaf will win their hearts and minds?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      I think it's probably aimed at giving less opportunities for wailing familes, public funerals, burning of US flags amidst cries of murder, etc?

    2. Christoph Silver badge

      Well of course it will

      "We've invaded your country, trashed your infrastructure, stolen your natural resources, put a load of corrupt thugs in to govern you, and are now charging you for letting our companies make a vast profit by 'repairing' the damage we did. But we killed rather fewer of you than usual. So BE GRATEFUL YOU SCUM!"

      1. laird cummings

        Well, the 'stolen your resources' item is BS, that much is quite clear:

        Do try to keep your protest rhetoric up-to-date and at least somewhat factual.

        Other than that, carry on smartly with the knee-jerking.

      2. JohnMoser

        In reality, the countries invaded all had corrupt (and murderous)governments and trashed medieval infrastructure before anyone from the US military was even in the hood. And if the US "stole resources" they must have hidden them pretty well. But don't let the facts stop your nonsensical declamations.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Yanks, eh?


    1. Christoph Silver badge

      How long before one of those gets nicked from the police? And how long before some idiot then uses it on an aircraft?

  15. crayon

    @laird cummings

    "Saudi Arabia wants us involved. And Korea wants us involved. And Tiawan wants us involved. And the UAE wants us involved."

    I like your choice of countries. Saudi Arabia is a hardly a model of democracy and freedom, when women there have less rights than those of Iran's. Saudi Arabian women aren't allowed to drive or even work and hence are forced to buy their undies from salesMEN. Meanwhile in Iran, a country derided in the western media as a repressive country, women have the right to vote and be voted for. South Korea and Taiwan were run by sometimes brutal military dictatorships (propped by the US of course) until their people had enough and demanded democracy, which they both got, peacefully, thankfully, despite the US influence. UAE is a slightly less repressed version of Saudi Arabia.

    But this is besides the point. There is no need for you to justify why the US is involved, it will involve itself when it thinks it has something to gain (or something to lose if it doesn't get involved) regardless of domestic law, international law, morals, ethics, the views of the host country's people or ruling clique, or world opinion.

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