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Assessment methodology of counter-personnel high power electromagnetic millimeter wave effects

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Author: Valente, F. · Horst, M.J. van der · Paulissen, J.J.M. · Zwamborn, A.P.M. · Toet, A.
Publisher: TNO
Place: Rijswijk
Source:7th European symposium on Non-Lethal Weapons (NLW), Stadthalle Ettlingen, Germany, 3-5 June 2013
Identifier: 472844
Keywords: Warfare · Non-lethal weapons · ADS · Millimetre wave · Thermal effects · Injury · Pain · NLW · Bayesian network · Defence Research · Defence, Safety and Security · Mechatronics, Mechanics & Materials Physics & Electronics Human · WS - Weapon Systems ED - Electronic Defence PCS - Perceptual and Cognitive Systems · TS - Technical Sciences


The group of NLW that arguably offers the largest amount of useful applications are based on high power electromagnetic millimetre wave technology. This group is often referred to as ‘Active Denial Systems’ (ADS), since they are primarily aimed at deterring and dispersing people out of an area. The effect mechanism involves radiating millimetre waves with a frequency of 95 GHz onto humans. These waves only penetrate the upper layers of the human skin locally heating the moisture underneath. The result is an intolerable pain that compels the targeted individual to move away from the waves. TNO assessed the performance of ADS in terms of wave properties needed to yield a meaningful effect, while minimising the risk of injuries. The models are based on probabilistic clusters of interrelated aspects, a so-called Bayesian Network. It enables statements on the increased or decreased risk of injury when one or more of the interrelated aspects change. The intended effect of pain can be added to the model in a similar manner, linking noxious energy deposition to subjective pain awareness as function of the current emotional state of the targeted individual.