don’t microwave me, bro!

from wired/blacklisted news: Seven months after an airman was burned in a test of the nonlethal heat beam, the Air Force has released a heavily redacted version of the mishap report a heavily redacted version of the mishap report (2.28mb PDF) that reveals few details about what happened.

The military has bent over backwards to demonstrate to the public that the Active Denial System (ADS), a millimeter wave directed energy weapon that heats up the top layer of skin, is a well-tested nonlethal weapon, and not a scary microwave weapon with unknown health effects. For example, last month, they staged demonstrations of ADS for reporters at Quantico quantico sentry, march 3, 2007 page 25 (4.78mb PDF).

That’s why the Air Force Safety Center‘s decision to sanitize the report is a big setback. Full of dark black lines, redacted pages, and white space through anything that would actually provide any substance on what happened was described, the best I can get out of the report is that the mishap was a combination of technical problems with the system possibly compounded with operator error (but it’s not clear from the redacted version). Here’s a snippet:

The only other interesting detail: the injury cost the military $17,748.00.

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