Feeds

US to export riot-roasting raygun

'Oops,' giggles Raytheon after commercially apt leak

Build a business case: developing custom apps

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-used riot-roaster weapon, have disclosed a sale of four containerised Silent Guardians to "a US ally". The revelations were described as an "oops" by the corporate types, as the Pentagon had forbidden the firm to make the sale public.

The Silent Guardian works by playing a wide-angle beam of microwave energy on its targets - generally assumed to be something on the order of a hostile mob. The effect of the weapon on humans is to heat up the outer layers of human skin, causing a painful burning sensation and forcing people to disperse.

The idea of the microwave cannon is to offer US troops, perhaps heavily outnumbered by angry crowds overseas, an alternative to opening fire or being overrun/compelled to retreat. Weapons of this sort were formerly termed "non lethal", but this was objected to on the grounds that rubber bullets, clubs, tasers etc do sometimes leave their targets dead - even if perhaps from some indirect cause like falling down and hitting their heads. As a result, people tend to say "less lethal" now.

Perhaps bizarrely, however, the Silent Guardian in particular has attracted massive negative commentary from its earliest development days, and repeated requests for it from US commanders overseas have thus been denied - the Pentagon seemingly finding that it got less bad press by dealing with riots the old-fashioned way, by a mixture of blunt trauma and gunfire.

There were also some technical issues with earlier Silent Guardian versions mounted on Humvees, as these lacked the cooling and associated power to function in the heat of an Iraqi summer. This has been sorted out for some time, however, with upgraded versions supplied in containerised form suitable for deployment on a lorry.

The US government may find itself unable to deploy the microwave gun due to public pressure, then: but it appears that at least one foreign government has no such qualms. And, perhaps, that Raytheon is quite pleased to let the world know it has some customers at last for the Silent Guardian technology. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Gigantic toothless 'DRAGONS' dominated Earth's early skies
Gummy pterosaurs outlived toothy competitors
Boffins ID freakish spine-smothered prehistoric critter: The CLAW gave it away
Bizarre-looking creature actually related to velvet worms
CRR-CRRRK, beep, beep: Mars space truck backs out of slippery sand trap
Curiosity finds new drilling target after course correction
'Leccy racer whacks petrols in Oz race
ELMOFO rakes in two wins in sanctioned race
Astronomers scramble for obs on new comet
Amateur gets fifth confirmed discovery
Boffins build CYBORG-MOTHRA but not for evil: For search & rescue
This tiny bio-bot will chew through your clothes then save your life
Vulture 2 takes a battering in 100km/h test run
Still in one piece, but we're going to need MORE POWER
What does a flashmob of 1,024 robots look like? Just like this
Sorry, Harvard, did you say kilobots or KILLER BOTS?
NASA's rock'n'roll shock: ROLLING STONE FOUND ON MARS
No sign of Ziggy Stardust and his band
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.