[NetBehaviour] Fwd: police's new supergun will blast rioters off their feet

ryan griffis grifray at yahoo.com
Wed Oct 12 02:58:14 CEST 2005

Begin forwarded message:
> The Independent & The Independent on Sunday
> 10 October 2005 08:35
> Home > News > UK > Crime
> Revealed: police's new supergun will blast rioters off their feet
> New generation of microwave and laser weapons set to transform crowd 
> control techniques
> By Severin Carrell
> Published: 09 October 2005
> British defence scientists are working on a new generation of weapons 
> which includes microwaves, lasers and chemical guns that could be used 
> to quell riots, The Independent on Sunday has found.
> One highly classified project is to develop a "vortex gun", for use in 
> riots, which fires a powerful, doughnut-shaped pulse of air at 
> supersonic speed. Experts say the weapon could fire riot-control gas 
> or other chemicals to disperse mobs or disable enemy troops.
> Scientific Applications & Research Associates, a US firm that has made 
> such a gun, said it could fire shock waves that hit people "with 
> enough force to knock them off balance. [It] feels like having a 
> bucket of cold water thrown on to your chest". The research involves 
> putting high-powered lasers and micro- wave weapons on cruise missiles 
> and planes to "kill" an enemy's own weapons, although these new arms 
> could be banned under international treaties.
> A major British defence firm, Qinetiq, formed when the Government 
> privatised its military testing agency, is understood to be 
> investigating weapons that use lasers to "dazzle" the enemy, a 
> technique the US military is now said to be using in Iraq.
> British defence laboratories are also understood to have tested 
> crowd-control foams including a much thicker version of the foam used 
> to fight aircraft fires and another "sticky" foam that immobilises 
> people caught in it.
> These weapons are part of a taxpayer-funded, fast-expanding, secret 
> programme of research by military laboratories and private defence 
> firms into so-called non-lethal weapons.
> The drive to find such weaponry sprang from attempts to replace the 
> baton rounds, known as plastic bullets, which were heavily criticised 
> in Chris Patten's report into policing in Northern Ireland in the late 
> 1990s. Police now have a far wider range of "non-lethal weapons", 
> including safer baton rounds, CS gas, Taser stun guns, pepper spray 
> and, in Northern Ireland, water cannon.
> Modern technologies have also made it much easier to create new arms, 
> and Britain has a joint programme to develop military non-lethal 
> weapons with the US, which is pouring hundreds of millions of dollars 
> into research.
> The high-powered microwave weapon is part of a British programme 
> code-named Virus, run by a little-known department of the Ministry of 
> Defence (MoD) called the Deep Target Attack directorate. The weapon 
> fires a powerful pulse of microwaves to completely or temporarily 
> knock out equipment such as computers, radar or guidance systems.
> The lasers, which could be fitted on aircraft or unmanned aircraft 
> called drones, would be aimed at an enemy's electronic sensors and 
> disable radar-guided anti-aircraft batteries.
> A report by Canada's defence research agency, released by the Sunshine 
> Project, a US-based group that investigates military research, says 
> the UK is "one of the main players" in the world in investigating 
> weapons using high-powered micro-waves, along with the US, France and 
> Russia.
> This revelation surprised Neil Davison, head of a research programme 
> into non-lethal weapons at Bradford University. He said the MoD had a 
> track record of secrecy over its research programme.
> "We know the British armed forces have an active programme to find new 
> non-lethal weapons and the UK is working closely with the United 
> States, but the details of that collaborative arrangement are not 
> openly available," he said.
> Many of these techniques could be highly controversial, particularly 
> the use of lasers to temporarily blind an opponent. Britain was forced 
> to abandon high-powered lasers to dazzle jet pilots, a technique 
> allegedly used during the Falklands War, because it contravened new 
> global rules outlawing devices designed to permanently disable 
> combatants or cause someone to crash a plane.
> Mark Fulop, head of the bio-medical sciences department at the MoD's 
> main defence research agency, confirmed that there is an extensive 
> programme to find new non-lethal weapons. That included the vortex 
> gun, which tests showed could be effective fired up to 48m from a 
> target. "But it is a long way from being practical," he said. "We're 
> watching to see what others are doing."

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