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Heat Ray Gun Fails Final Test; Nixed From War 299

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the it-burns-mommy dept.
eldavojohn writes "The heat ray gun to be deployed in Afghanistan has failed its final test and will not be deployed. US military commanders who have had it in the field now have declined to use it. After being tested more than 11,000 times on around 700 volunteers, it failed to achieve satisfaction from the military and will not be deployed."
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Heat Ray Gun Fails Final Test; Nixed From War

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  • by Gothmolly (148874) on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @11:31AM (#33046680)

    I guess it didn't have enough settings - I'm sure they were looking for a 'Death Star' setting, for the truly pesky insurgents.

    • They probably couldn't figure out a way to switch it to "Blow".

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by camperslo (704715)

      Perhaps they realized the enemy would come out wearing tin foil hats, and bounce signal back at them with pizza pans?

      • Perhaps they realized the enemy would come out wearing tin foil hats, and bounce signal back at them with pizza pans?

        Tinfoil hats you say? Aha, clear proof that this death heat ray was developed specifically to be used against the slashdot protest crowd when ACTA is signed into law!

    • what the hell are they going to do with all those sharks?

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by technosaurus (1704630)
      Have you ever looked inside of a microwave? Most of us have, but that annoying grid pattern serves an actual purpose. It effectively shunts away the microwaves so that our eyes don't explode while we are watching the popcorn bag burst into growth. Since ADS works on a similar principle the same type of "shield" in ones clothing would act similarly. Forming a phalanx of mirrors (like the other sides of the microwave) would be even worse - allowing the energy to be redirected. Fortunately neither wearing
  • Proving once again (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @11:32AM (#33046684)

    That we should have been investing in either freeze or death rays.

    • Certainly worth taking another look at shrink rays, for that matter.
    • by darkfire5252 (760516) on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @12:57PM (#33048234)

      I know this was intended as a joke, but it does prove something about the 'heat ray' that is rather important: the military-industrial PR machine is operational and effective. This weapon is not a 'heat ray' at all; it is a _pain_ ray. The microwaves emitted by this device may cause some incidental heating of the skin, but that is not the intent at all. The microwaves emitted are of the precise frequency used by pain-emitting neurons. The goal is to have to pain neuron fire at full capacity regardless of the actual level of damage being caused. An article from 2007 ( http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-482560/Run-away-ray-gun-coming--We-test-US-armys-new-secret-weapon.html [dailymail.co.uk] ) describes this and introduces the idea of a pain ray... 3 years later the military is celebrating its 'heat ray,' a term which is less associated with the evils that can be caused by a 'pain ray.'

    • by cgenman (325138) on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @01:10PM (#33048456) Homepage

      I'm sure the ice beam will be ready for the invasion of the arctic. And the death ray will surely repel the zombie hordes.

      Seriously, a heat ray against a desert people? That's like throwing sand and large ocean waves at Hawaii. You might as well invite them back for warm tea in a room without air conditioning.

    • by dkleinsc (563838)

      You know you've been playing too much Nethack when your first response to this is: Why should we use wands of fire, cold, or death when we've got a bunch of wands of striking and sleep handy?

  • "We were going for that District 9 weapon effect [youtube.com], but couldn't achieve it so this ray gun is scrapped for now."

  • by MachDelta (704883) on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @11:34AM (#33046726)

    So does that mean they're bringing them home and will be using them domestically? /tinfoilhat

  • by Chris Burke (6130) on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @11:34AM (#33046730) Homepage

    I'm kinda baffled why anyone in the military thought a heat ray pain gun would help them achieve satisfaction... but who am I to judge someone's kink?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by elrous0 (869638) *
      It turns out their REAL kink is being cuckolded by powerful military contractors. And, on that front, this project was a stunning success.
  • Not to worry! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Cornwallis (1188489) on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @11:35AM (#33046752)

    I'm sure these things will start showing up in U.S. police departments soon enough.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Nadaka (224565)

      They already have the sound cannons that cause instantaneous and permanent hearing damage, and can rapidly cause permanent deafness.

      They were used against protesters to the G20 meeting.

      • by feepness (543479)

        They already have the sound cannons that cause instantaneous and permanent hearing damage, and can rapidly cause permanent deafness.

        They were used against protesters to the G20 meeting.

        Toronto is not in the US.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        They already have the sound cannons that cause instantaneous and permanent hearing damage, and can rapidly cause permanent deafness.

        They were used against protesters to the G20 meeting.

        Just to protect against your comment being skewed as "police were causing permanent damage to protesters", the Toronto police were approved to use the LRAD in voice mode but blocked from using alert mode. Used as per their instructions and judge's orders, the devices are unlikely to cause permanent damage. Similarly, being authorized to carry guns isn't the same as shooting protesters dead.

        Sources:

        • http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/torontog20summit/article/828473--toronto-police-can-use-sound-cannons-but-at-
      • Re:Not to worry! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by cgenman (325138) on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @01:16PM (#33048564) Homepage

        Don't forget the woman who was bean-bag gunned to death at a Red Socks victory rally.

        I liked lethal force. Either it got used, or it didn't. Generally it didn't. All non-lethal force has done is change situations that would have been deflated peacefully into situations where people start firing non-lethal guns at each other. Or, rather, police start firing "non-lethal" guns at unarmed civilians, sometimes maiming and sometimes killing them.

        • by couchslug (175151)

          The trouble with that is there would be no way to control crowds short of shooting them. The "Kent State" method has all sorts of drawbacks. I'd rather deal with "stray noise" or "stray pain waves" than stray rifle bullets any day.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          I liked lethal force. Either it got used, or it didn't. Generally it didn't.

          That is a really good point.

          Before all this "non-lethal" crap was deployed the police had two alternative, defuse a situation peacefully without the use of force or use force to hurt/kill people and fuck with their public approval rating. By selling all these gizmos (Tazer, ADS, sonic canon, etc.) as "non-lethal" the police have less reason to NOT escalate a situation and use these devices against unarmed groups. When someone gets maimed or killed the police can say that it was an "unfortunate accident"

    • My money's on the Maker / DIY crowd! Hopefully, it works better than the Arduino powered Bedazzler [instructables.com].

    • I'm sure these things will start showing up in U.S. police departments soon enough.

      ...and in grocery stores next to the Jiffy Pop.

    • How else will poor little struggling Raytheon recoup their losses? They'll no doubt also create a model that incorparates a ticket cam.
  • say it simply gave you an itchy feeling, no more

    ok: then the military should have acted like it was an anthrax ray or something horribly nasty. and then let simple fear in the people it was pointed at do the rest of the work: "get the hell out of here, the americans have some scary new technology that causes your eyes to glow/ flesh to fall off in a month/ all your female relatives to lose their virginity!"

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @11:40AM (#33046860)

      "get the hell out of here, the americans have some scary new technology that causes your eyes to glow/ flesh to fall off in a month/ all your female relatives to lose their virginity!"

      What, they are going to introduce beer in large quantities?

      • by Capt.DrumkenBum (1173011) on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @12:16PM (#33047488)
        American beer? That is evil. If you are going to introduce them to beer, at least make it a good beer.
        Or how about beer with alcohol in it. Introducing the native Americans to alcohol worked out pretty well, for the Europeans. :)
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          You sir, need to start sampling beer from the Pacific Northwest. There's none better on earth.

          • by Skye16 (685048)

            Eh, any local microbrewery is about the same. Most have high quality.

            I spent my honeymoon in the Pac NW, but I've had better beers back at home (and I've had worse ones).

            Don't get me wrong, some were worthy of note and I wrote them down, and sometimes I even crave them and wish I could be back there right now, but I do that for local microbrews as well. It probably isn't necessarily indicative of area, just smaller batches and far more interest in making something taste good than something that tastes con

        • by jopsen (885607)

          Or how about beer with alcohol in it. Introducing the native Americans to alcohol worked out pretty well, for the Europeans. :)

          Well, how about trying their pipe then... I'm sure opium is pretty common around there... I'm sure that'll work out pretty well for the Taliban, they're already stoned... :)

    • by tacroy (813477)
      I imagine that would work against "winning hearts and minds" and probably add to the "the USA hates us all, kill them."
    • by Wowsers (1151731)

      You don't need fancy multi-millon Dollar gadgets to make people run away. A loudspeaker with a few tracks from say Britney Spears, Lady Gaga, Beyonce and Katy Perry, will do far more damage.

  • by timholman (71886) on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @11:38AM (#33046794)

    RTFA. There's nothing in the linked story about it "failing" any test. What happened is that the military decided that no operational need for the weapon existed in Afghanistan.

    The ADS does work for crowd control, but generally the military isn't dealing with crowds of rioting civilians attacking their outposts. They're dealing with insurgents fighting with guerilla tactics and IEDs. The ADS is the wrong tool for the job.

    • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @11:48AM (#33046988) Journal
      If you look at the right side of the page, the second most popular article is titled

      "US 'heat ray' gun fails final test"

      This morning, when I read this article and submitted it to Slashdot, that was the title. The words "fails final test" were all over the article. Unfortunately Google doesn't seem to offer a cache for it but those words are all over [google.com].

      The summary isn't wrong, it's just that the BBC changed their story. In the original version the final test was actually putting it to use in Afghanistan. And the US Military Leaders decided ADS doesn't work in that war scenario.

      The ADS is the wrong tool for the job.

      So if you use the wrong tool for the job and it doesn't work wouldn't you call that failing?

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        If you use the wrong tool for the job, I call that failing. But it's not the tool that failed. It's you.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          If you use the wrong tool for the job, I call that failing. But it's not the tool that failed. It's you.

          Perhaps you should speak to the company that sells the tool [mediaroom.com] and advertises its use in military combat:

          Raytheon's Active Denial System 2 provides military, civilian law enforcement, and security organizations with a truly non-lethal system that is optimized for situations where the use of lethal force may not be appropriate or warranted.

          You know as well as I do what happened. The military took our tax dollars and dumped it into the development of this project under the guise that they wouldn't have to kill as many people in Iraq and Afghanistan.

          And now who is it going to end up being used on? Only you and me. No military value, surprise surprise.

          Yes, the tool failed the purpose it was marketed, sold and purchased to fulfill.

      • by timholman (71886)

        So if you use the wrong tool for the job and it doesn't work wouldn't you call that failing?

        No, I'd call it "using the wrong tool for the job". If you need a screwdriver, and I offer you a hammer, that hammer didn't "fail". It's a perfectly good hammer, it does what it's supposed to do, but it is the wrong tool for the task you require.

        Right now the U.S. military is looking for new weapons to deal with the Taliban insurgency on the Pakistan border. They're not dealing with massive crowds of civilian riot

        • by mobby_6kl (668092)

          Well, one could say that by not being the right tool for the job and not being deployed, it failed its "final test".

      • So if you use the wrong tool for the job and it doesn't work wouldn't you call that failing?

        A powerdrill is the wrong tool for hammering a nail, but it doesn't fail at the job. Damages the powerdrill though.

        • I use my powerdrill all the time to hammer nails and it shows, it's torn to sherds. It's me who fails to bring a hammer to the fight [sic].

          I would also say by the above logic our whole mission is failing in the sandboxes we are in. We bought the whole toolbox, but we keep using the wrong tools for the job.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by quax (19371)

      Civilian cars are often shot up at military check points because the drivers don't understand that they are supposed to stop. Since soldiers have to assume these could be car bombs they shoot to disable the vehicle but in real life that means people get killed. Often times children are involved or like it happened in Iraq pregnant women who the husband tried to rush to the hospital. A non-lethal weapon system that'll get a car to stop would be great but obviously microwaves can not penetrate a car so thi

      • by couchslug (175151) on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @12:17PM (#33047504)

        "Civilian cars are often shot up at military check points because the drivers don't understand that they are supposed to stop."

        Military checkpoints often lacked APPROACH BARRIERS and SIGNAGE. Even if someone is shooting at you from a distance, if you don't SEE the muzzle flash or SEE/HEAR the IMPACTs you may keep driving or even speed up to get (what you assume is) "away".

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by gary_7vn (1193821)
        No, it was the soldier, or more precisely, his superiours, who did not understand how to properly signal them to stop. In Iraq, putting out your hand in the "halt/stop" gesture means "come forward/here". You don't need heat rays, you need brains and cultural awareness. A even better way to stop killing civilians to leave their countries entirely. “As an American, you just put your hand up with your palm towards somebody and your fingers pointing to the sky,” said Sergeant Jefferies, who was r
  • The "popcorn" setting was ineffective ... everyone knows you cant have a war without popcorn!
    • My physics PhD ex told me about one of her professors. In the 1950's in Nevada, he was working on DoD projects concerning radar. Well, it gets awful cold in the desert at night, and it's still awful cold in the morning. So my ex's professor and the rest of the crew would stand in front of the RADAR set and let the microwaves warm them up.

  • That's 15.7 times each. Being shot with that thing must feel awesome. You'd think the military would have caught on once the volunteers started queueing up for the fifth or sixth time.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by noidentity (188756)
      I figured out a cool way you can experience this in your own home! All you need is a screwdriver (flathead) and a microwave oven. The screwdriver is for pressing the door-closed switch while you have the door open. I'm about to go try...
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by krakround (1065064)
      Really, they needed to invent the orgasmatron ray gun. Then there would be no issues with testing and it would always be declared a success.
    • by Bluesman (104513)

      You're assuming they tested it on one person at a time. More realistically, they would fire it on a much larger group to test its crowd control capability.

      So really, this paints the picture of a group of 100 people getting hit with the ray, standing up and cheering, "FUCK YEAH! Hit us AGAIN! WOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" about 1000 times.

      I'm thinking they tested it on drunk frat boys.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Arancaytar (966377)

        That makes sense. The experiment plan is easier to get past the ethics committee that way.

  • 700 volunteers, used 11,000 times.... that's 16 times per volunteer. I kind of wish the police used this instead of tasers. Maybe they should change the name from heat gun to tickle gun.
    • Just wait until US police start using it on riots during cold weather. Then the system will have failed.
      • by cgenman (325138)

        It sounds like they could use it on riot police in cold weather. Keep 'em nice and toasty. Put a foil-lined cocoa packet in your back pocket, and have a tasty snack when you're done.

  • ...having read what waterboarding is [salon.com], I can't see any tool being rejected for being too inhumane.
  • Redeployed (Score:4, Funny)

    by Drakkenmensch (1255800) on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @11:56AM (#33047134)
    To strategic locations across the US to keep Burger King whoppers warm while awaiting to be sold to customers.
  • by Lumpy (12016) on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @11:56AM (#33047146) Homepage

    The cold ray failed as well.... It seems the troops were firing it at themselves to keep comfortable and keeping beverages cold instead of fighting evil...

  • by divisionbyzero (300681) on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @11:57AM (#33047168)

    Bullets are more reliable, effective, and cheaper.

    • by blair1q (305137)

      There's a stat (this is original research but this isn't the wikipedia so fuck it) that 3,000 bullets are expended for each enemy killed.

      This has been fairly constant for all wars since at least the Civil War (don't have data on the Revolution or earlier euro wars that had bullets in them; but the CW and both world wars and Viet Nam followed this model; can't remember if I saw data for the first Gulf War (i mean, it lasted a couple of days and we were cluster-bombing cars and rounding up prisoners more than

  • A euphemism for "test subjects caught fire".
  • by trybywrench (584843) on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @12:05PM (#33047294)
    I was thinking of this heat ray the other day when watching previous for that stupid show Whale Wars. Put them on the whaling ships as a non-lethal, extended range, deterrent to keep people from approaching the boats.
    • by Xelios (822510)
      Not that I have any sympathy for those yahoos but wouldn't that constitute some kind of assault? Seems like it wouldn't be much different than zapping someone with a taser for getting too close to your car, though maybe I'm wrong and there's actually some maritime law that gives you the right to protect your boat from anyone who gets too close.

      Though maybe those Sea Shepard people would be guilty of the same crime, throwing their stinky cheese onto the fishing boats or whatever it is they do. But someth
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Dhalka226 (559740)

        It's international waters. Very few laws at all apply.

        These anti-whalers are essentially pirates. They have rammed these other boats as well as tried to board them or otherwise sabotage them. If it were me, and these twats tried any of that, I would shoot them. And not with a heat gun.

        And you know what? I would sleep fine at night.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Catapulting dead dolphins would be more fun and would better get the point across.
    • by blair1q (305137)

      Back of my mind (low-reliability recollection) says they actually did that.

      It also tells me they're using them on boats off the east coast of Africa to deter pirates.

    • Give the Japanese the microwave device, and I'll recommend these against the whalers:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VA-111_Shkval [wikipedia.org]

      Not many craft in Japan's fleet can outrun a 200+ knot (230+ mph) torpedo.

    • by hkz (1266066)
      There was talk about installing these devices on ships passing through Somali waters as an anti-piracy measure.
  • to burst into flames at long range.

    Hence useless.

  • the targets/victims kept falling on their buttered side.

  • by meerling (1487879) on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @01:36PM (#33048810)
    I've had serious questions about potential issues with this system since I first heard about it.

    "It only penetrates the skin the equivalent of 3 sheets of paper thickness..." So what, your eye is very vulnerable to microwaves, and it's going to be directly exposed. That depth can still do serious damage to your eyes.

    "It's been tested numerous times on military and journalist volunteers..." Again, so fricking what! You are talking about a limited quantity of people in an area where movement isn't confined with people who know what's going to happen and from where. Just try that on any average mob of people anywhere in the world in normal real world conditions, and you are going to have a huge mess on your hands! They won't clear the target area efficiently, if they can even figure out where/why it's happening. It won't be even vaguely orderly, people will go different directions, collide, get pushed down or fall down, even get trampled. If panic ensues, a likely occurrence for those unfamiliar with this new weapon, you'll probably even have people moving into the target area since they are in a general panic and are UNABLE TO SEE WHAT IS TARGETED! It's well know to those that study these things, areas that are visibly marked are far more effective in keeping people out than any invisible system.

    From the situations I mentioned in the previous paragraph, the weapon proponents entire claim that no serious damage will result since nobody will be exposed more than a few seconds is either utter incompetence, complete misunderstanding of even the most basic of human mob reactions, or they are lying through the teeth to make mint on new weapon system. I know which one I'm voting for.

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