psychophysical weapons and tortures in Europe
  Dr. Altmann

Millimetre Waves, Lasers, Acoustics
for Non-Lethal Weapons?

Physics Analyses and Inferences

Jürgen Altmann

Experimentelle Physik III
Technische Universität Dortmund

Executive Summary

New technologies of non-lethal weapons (NLW) are under military research and evelopment, mainly in the USA. Due to incomplete information, judgement under criteria of the laws of warfare or of human rights is hampered. This study analyses four potential NLW technologies which are based on physics to provide reliable information for such assessment.
The Active Denial System (ADS) produces a beam of electromagnetic millimetre waves;
such radiation is absorbed in the upper 0.4 mm of skin. The beam stays approximately 2 m wide out to many hundreds of metres. With a power of 100 kilowatts, the beam can heat the skin of target subjects to pain-producing temperature levels within seconds. With a prototype weapon, mounted in a military multi-purpose vehicle, the effects have been tested on hundreds of volunteers. In order to produce pain while preventing burn injury, the power and duration of emission for one trigger event is controlled by a software program. Model calculations show that with the highest power setting, second- and third-degree burns with complete dermal necrosis will occur after less than 2 seconds. Even with a lower setting of power or duration there is the possibility for the operator to re-trigger immediately.
Collateral damage is not much of a problem. Use in armed conflict would bring much less
injury than flamethrowers which count as legitimate weapons. However, such use is not very probable because the system is large, needs to be exposed for action and is vulnerable to many kinds of light weapons. More likely is its use for internal security, by occupation forces against uprisings etc. Taking into account that the operator may be up to one km away, in such circumstances overdoses with severe burn injuries could only be prevented if technical devices would reliably limit the skin temperature, i.e., would limit beam power or duration depending on target distance and would prevent re-triggering on the same person before a certain cooling time has passed.
The Advanced Tactical Laser (ATL), to be carried by a transport aircraft, is to emit an
infrared laser beam of 300 kilowatts power, provided from a chemical reaction. Via a 0.5 m wide transmitting and directing mirror, the beam can be focused – under ideal conditions –to a spot of 0.1-0.2 m size over 10 km and more. With the 100-fold power of a stove plate applied over a similar area, wood or textiles would start burning and metal would melt through after fractions of a second, under usual atmospheric conditions on the order of one second. Strong turbulence will limit the range, fog, dust or heavy rain can reduce it markedly. With fuel for about 40 seconds of radiating on board and dwell times below a second, the beam will often be directed and fired automatically. The ATL can destroy equipment and kill people, it is not a non-lethal weapon. Its usage in armed conflict against combatants could be compared with flamethrowers which are accepted under international humanitarian law. Compared to other means of applying force at many kilometres distance (artillery, bombs), the ATL would allow much more discriminating destruction. The ATL has limitations: the fuel is sufficient only for around 100 “shots”. A clear line of sight is also needed, preventing action through fog or heavy rain and exposing the carrier aircraft. Due to its size, long range and drastic effects, the ATL is not suitable for police. In peaceenforcing operations it could allow more precise targeting than possible with artillery or guided bombs, but collateral damage is nevertheless possible to several metres from an exploding tyre, fuel tank or munition.


Non Lethal Weapon: Long Range Acoustic Device 02

For use by security personnel other than hailing and warning, an evaluation in the context of police law and human rights is needed. [...] In the warning mode the LRAD produces sound pressure levels which are dangerous to hearing if unprotected target subjects are exposed longer than certain durations: a few seconds to 50 m distance, 1.5 minutes at 100 m. Below about 5 m any exposure can produce permanent hearing damage. --- Jürgen Altmann, "Millimetre Waves, Lasers, Acoustics for Non-Lethal Weapons? Physics Analyses and Inferences", Technische Universität Dortmund, 2008, S.52. S[...]

Military Nanotechnology

Potential Applications and Preventive Arms Control

By Jürgen Altmann

Published May 1st 2006 by Routledge – 256 pages

With revolutionary changes in nanotechnology (NT) now on the horizon, many countries have started major research and development (R&D) programmes, which are mainly civilian. Often overlooked are military R&D programmes – in particular those of the US government. This is the first systematic and comprehensive presentation of the potential military applications of NT. In ten to twenty years, these applications may include extremely small computers, robots, missiles, satellites, launchers and sensors. They may also provide lighter and stronger materials for vehicles and weapons, implants in soldiers’ bodies, metal-free firearms, autonomous fighting systems, and smaller chemical and biological weapons. These potential uses raise strong concerns. This assessment is made from a viewpoint of international security, considering the new criteria of dangers for arms control and the international law of warfare, dangers for stability through potential new arms races and proliferation, and dangers for humans and society. Some military applications, such as computers, will be so close to civilian uses that limits are impractical. Others, such as sensors for biological-warfare agents, may contribute to stronger protection against terrorist attacks and better verification of compliance with arms-control treaties. For preventive limitation of these new technologies, specific approaches are proposed that balance positive civilian uses and take into account verification of compliance, with a view to international peace and security, not national military strength.

This book will be of great interest to scholars of military technology, non-lethal weapons, disarmament and security studies in general.

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