The Active Denial System (ADS) developed by Raytheon for the US Air Force Research Labs has entered extended user evaluation phase, and is currently deployed with the Air Force’s 820th Security Forces Group (SFG) at Moody air force base in Georgia, USA. 820 is the first unit selected to conduct these tests. The system will be evaluated in assisting troops in securing base perimeters, checkpoints and entry control points during peacekeeping and humanitarian assistance, and crowd dispersal.
According to Tech. Sgt. John DeLaCerda, the NCO in charge of the 820th SFG advanced technologies section, the new non-lethal weapon will enable the unit to engage potential adversaries at distances beyond the range of small-arms range, thus being able to repel an individual, and determining the target’s intent without the use of lethal force. “Right now, we don’t have a medium between shouting and shooting when determining an adversary’s intent,” says DeLaCerda. “In the long run [such system] can help limit collateral damage, protect the innocent and save the lives of our men and women in combat.” He added. The beam is designed only to affect an individual for a short moment due to safety presets and features, Sergeant DeLaCerda said. “ADS is not developed to engage a target for a long period of time, and we aren’t trained to operate it that way; once we expose an individual and determine their intent, we will no longer engage them with the beam.”
“The pain is comparable to an intensified version of opening an oven and feeling the initial blast of hot air,” said Staff Sgt. Jason Delacruz, an ADS operator who has also been exposed on several occasions for training purposes. “The effects are extremely sudden, and natural instincts automatically force you to quickly exit the target area.”