Peacekeeping: September 22, 2004

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Next Summer, the U.S. Army and Marines are sending to Iraq a number of  wheeled armored vehicles (Stryker, Armored Security Vehicle and marine LAV) equipped with a number of electronic non-lethal weapons. The three most likely weapons to be used are;

* Active Denial System (ADS). This one looks like a small, flat, radar dish. It transmits, a 92 gigahertz signal which will penetrate human flesh to less than half a millimeter, and in less than a second make people feel like their skin is on fire. But people would require the beam to stay on them for over four minutes before any actual burning would take place. Tests on volunteers confirm the burning sensation, and the desire to get out of the area quickly. How well this would work against various types of hostile crowds is not known. But the system has been in development for some fifteen years, and its thought that it will be safe and will produce no surprises. Some scientists have warned of possible eye damage, but this has not shown up in human tests. Current range is about 500 meters, although work has been underway to extend that by at least fifty percent. However, used on a large crowd, it could cause a stampede that could cause injuries, and even death. In any event, the media will condemn the system as inhumane. 

* Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD), which is a high-powered bullhorn type of device that sends out a focused stream of sound. This can be used to tell to direct a verbal message to about 300 meters on land (and over 500 meters over water.) LRAD also has the capacity to send a focused sound that causes pain as well. 

* High powered searchlights. Using new illumination technology, a very bright and focused light can have a deterrent effect at night. 

Such peacewagons could move around quickly, and rapidly disperse hostile crowds, without killing a lot of people. In a place like Iraq, you would still have to deal with hostile fire, which is why this equipment is being carried on an armored vehicle. 

The vehicle will also have the usual night vision devices, making it easier to find targets at night. In this case, the vehicles would be used in support of combat operations. The ADS or LRAD could be used to force enemy fighters to move this way or that, and make them easier to kill. The Peacekeeper vehicle would also have weapons, and could kill any bad guys it flushed out.


 


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