Weapons that kill by sound, ready for sale

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Weapons that kill by sound, ready for sale

The fact that "millions" are being ordered show this weapon is not just experimental, but here.

 http://www.nytimes.com/2003...

Norris and A.T.C. have been busy honing something called High Intensity Directed Acoustics (HIDA, in house jargon). It is directional sound -- an offshoot of HSS -- but one that never, ever transmits Handel or waterfall sounds.

In reality, HIDA is both warning and weapon. If used from a battleship, it can ward off stray crafts at 500 yards with a pinpointed verbal warning. Should the offending vessel continue to within 200 yards, the stern warnings are replaced by 120-decibel sounds that are as physically disabling as shrapnel. Certain noises, projected at the right pitch, can incapacitate even a stone-deaf terrorist; the bones in your head are brutalized by a tone's full effect whether you're clutching the sides of your skull in agony or not.

"Besides," Norris says, laughing darkly, "grabbing your ears is as good as a pair of handcuffs."

Nimbly holding a big black plate, Norris stands with me in an A.T.C. sound chamber. Since he's poised behind the weapon, he will hear no sound once it's powered up: not a peep. "HIDA can instantaneously cause loss of equilibrium, vomiting, migraines -- really, we can pretty much pick our ailment," he says brightly. "We've delivered a couple dozen units so far, but will have a lot more out by June. They're talking millions!"

(Last month, A.T.C. cut a five-year, multimillion-dollar licensing agreement with General Dynamics, one of the giants of the military- industrial complex.)

Norris prods his assistant to locate the baby noise on a laptop, then aims the device at me. At first, the noise is dreadful -- just primally wrong -- but not unbearable. I repeatedly tell Norris to crank it up (trying to approximate battle-strength volume, without the nausea), until the noise isn't so much a noise as an assault on my nervous system. I nearly fall down and, for some reason, my eyes hurt. When I bravely ask how high they'd turned the dial, Norris laughs uproariously. "That was nothing!" he bellows.

"That was about 1 percent of what an enemy would get. One percent!" Two hours later, I can still feel the ache in the back of my head.
By netchicken: posted on 7-2-2004








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