Photo Information

The Active Denial System sits on a vessel at 3rd Port at Fort Eustis, Va., after being used in a demonstration, Sept. 12, 2013. This is the first time the ADS system has ever been used in a maritime environment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Wesley Farnsworth/Released)

Photo by U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Wesley Farnsworth

Fort Eustis participates in non-lethal maritime operational demonstration

17 Sep 2013 | Staff Sgt. Wesley Farnsworth

Members of the U.S. Army 7th Sustainment Brigade, 10th Transportation Battalion and 733rd Mission Support Group partnered with the Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate to demonstrate their Active Denial System at Fort Eustis, Sept. 12.

The system sends out a heat wave that travels at the speed of light and penetrates the first one-sixtyfourth layer of the skin, which is equivalent to three pieces of notebook paper. This is where the individual's nerve receptors reside.

The ADS was developed to assist operating forces in minimizing civilian casualties and collateral damage. With more than 15 years of research and exposing 11,800 volunteer to the ADS system has demonstrated its effectiveness and the ability to use it with minimal risk of injury. 

"Being engaged with ADS, you instantly feel a heating sensation on the area of your body that has been hit," said U.S. Navy Lt. Cmdr. Shawn Kelley, Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate experimentation officer. "Once you step out of the beam, the sensation goes away. There is no residual effect."

The exercise is the first of its kind to demonstrate this non-lethal capability on waterborne vessels, said Susan LeVine, Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate strategy and policy principle deputy.

This capability allows personnel the capability to project a man-sized beam of millimeter waves at a range of up to 1,000 meters. 

"As the Executive Agent of the Department of Defense's Non-Lethal Weapons Program, I am encouraged by the progress that the directorate, U.S. Air Force and our partners in industry have made in the development of the Active Denial System," said U.S. Marine Corps. Gen. James F. Amos, Commandant of the Marine Corps. "In today's complex operating environments, we must provide commanders a greater range of escalation-of-force options to accomplish the mission and reduce civilian casualties and collateral damage." 

Amos said he remains committed to ensuring the Department of Defense's leadership is aware of the state-of-the-art technology available to the joint force today and is enthusiastic about the role of systems such as ADS and how they may play in future operations.

"Using this in a maritime environment could prevent vessels from entering a port." Kelley said. "It allows us to engage someone at a further distance with non-lethal capabilities than we can with current options."

Additionally, the ADS system allows vessels extra range to determine hostile intent before having to engage threats with possible lethal force, Kelley said. 

The ADS system, housed at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., continuously receives maintenance and undergoes testing and evaluation, allowing it to remain available to U.S. operating forces world-wide. 

"The DoD is committed to the advancement of our non-lethal inventory and will continue to promote game-changing scientific achievements such as the Active Denial System," said U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Gen. R.T. Tryon, U.S. Marine Forces Europe commander. "The long-range, non-lethal effect provided by the ADS system has operational relevance in a wide-range of scenarios, and we must strive to provide our forces with such options in addressing future complex operating environments."

Potential applications of the ADS include static defense, area denial, suppression of vessel and vehicle operators or occupants, critical asset protection and crowd control.

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