Ever wonder what it's like to be set on fire? Step in front of the US military's "pain ray" Active Denial System and find out! It has recently been deployed to Afghanistan, but "has not been used operationally," yet.
Wired's Danger Room blog asked a spokeswoman from the Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate whether reports of the pain ray being deployed to Afghanistan were true. She said that it was not currently being tested. She then denied that the pain ray makes the recipient feel like they're burning alive, but that "It's an intolerable heating sensation. Like opening up an oven door." Sounds great.
From Danger Room:
For years, the military insisted that the Active Denial System - known as the "Holy Grail" of crowd control - was oh-so-close to battlefield deployment. But a host of technical issues hampered the ray gun: everything from overheating to poor performance in the rain. Safety concerns lingered; a test subject had to be airlifted to a burn center after being zapped by the weapon. (He eventually made a full recovery.) And then there were concerns about "the atmospherics" - how the locals might react - when they learned that the United States had turned a people-roaster on ‘em. "Not politically tenable," the Defense Science Board concluded.
Danger Room was able to get through to Gen. Stanley McChrystal's spokesman, who confirmed that the pain ray was in Afghanistan, "However, it has not been used operationally and no decision has been made at this time to deploy it." You know who could use these? US Border Patrol. They would be an instant hit in Arizona.
Here is the Pentagon's nice little graphic showing the ins and outs of how the Active Denial System works:
[Image via Dept. of Defense]