One of the most interesting aspects of Urban Shield— the massive 48-hour SWAT exercise sponsored by the Alameda County (Calif.) Sheriff’s Department.—is that it gives tactical teams a chance to try out some new products and technologies.
One of the coolest technologies used during this year’s event was the TASER Shockwave Area Denial System.
On orientation day, I watched the Newark, Calif., SWAT team receive a briefing on the Shockwave ADS.
The Shockwave ADS looks a lot like a claymore mine from a science fiction movie, but it’s really just an array of TASER cartridges. So it’s non-lethal. But that doesn’t mean it won’t ruin your day if you happen to be someplace you shouldn’t or participating in say…a prison riot.
The Shockwave ADS consists of three tiers of six TASER cartridges. It works like this. The operator uses an activator system that is hard-wired into the Shockwave. If he pushes the trigger once, the first row of six cartridges fires and the rioters or trespassers get a 30-second ride. A second time, and the second row fires and a charge is sent back into the probes that are now sticking into the bad guys. A third time, and the third row and the first and second set of probes go active again. Finally, there’s an option for firing all three rows—18 cartridges—at once and incapacitating the target with a hail of probes.
During the jailbreak scenario at Urban Shield, each team used the Shockwave to quell the problem. So each team got hands-on time with the device. The one thing they quickly learned was to be on the other side of it when it fires.