Feeds

US to export riot-roasting raygun

'Oops,' giggles Raytheon after commercially apt leak

Remote control for virtualized desktops

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. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
FORGET the CLIMATE: FATTIES are a MUCH BIGGER problem - study
Fat guy? Drink or smoke? You're worse than a TERRORIST
Renewable energy 'simply WON'T WORK': Top Google engineers
Windmills, solar, tidal - all a 'false hope', say Stanford PhDs
Rosetta probot drilling DENIED: Philae has its 'LEG in the AIR'
NOT best position for scientific fulfillment
SEX BEAST SEALS may be egging each other on to ATTACK PENGUINS
Boffin: 'I think the behaviour is increasing in frequency'
HUMAN DNA 'will be FOUND ON MOON' – rocking boffin Brian Cox
Crowdfund plan to stimulate Blighty's space programme
Post-pub nosh neckfiller: The MIGHTY Scotch egg
Off to the boozer? This delicacy might help mitigate the effects
I'M SO SORRY, sobs Rosetta Brit boffin in 'sexist' sexy shirt storm
'He is just being himself' says proud mum of larger-than-life physicist
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
LIFE, JIM? Comet probot lander found 'ORGANICS' on far-off iceball
That's it for God, then – if Comet 67P has got complex molecules
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
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.
Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence
Download Choosing a Cloud Hosting Provider with Confidence to learn more about cloud computing - the new opportunities and new security challenges.
New hybrid storage solutions
Tackling data challenges through emerging hybrid storage solutions that enable optimum database performance whilst managing costs and increasingly large data stores.