Air Force on Directed Energy Weapon Safety

10.16.08 | 1 min read | Text by Steven Aftergood

A new U.S. Air Force Instruction (pdf) establishes a safety program for directed energy weapons (DEW) in view of the fact that “DEW systems create unique hazards that are different from conventional and nuclear weapons.”

“Potential DEW systems covered by this instruction include, but are not limited to, high-energy lasers, weaponized microwave and millimeter wave beams, explosive-driven electromagnetic pulse devices, acoustic weapons, laser induced plasma channel systems, non-lethal directed energy devices, and atomic-scale and subatomic particle beam weapons.”

See Air Force Instruction 91-401, Directed Energy Weapon Safety, September 29, 2008.

Update: Sharon Weinberger at Danger Room volunteered to be on the receiving end of a directed energy weapon known as the Active Denial System and she lived to tell the tale, and more besides, here.