What if one weapon's intensity level could be adjusted with the turn of a dial or flip of a switch? As Wired puts it, one weapon could be "capable of doing everything from thwarting enemy ships to paralyzing, disorienting or barricading individuals."
This is exactly what the U.S. Special Operations and Command (SOCOM) is hoping for. According to Wired, the special ops has put out a bid for research proposals that would help develop "Scalable Effects Weapons."
Here's more from the description in the bid, including what the weapons should be able to help do:
SEW provides the broadest range of non-lethal to lethal anti-personnel and anti-material capabilities for neutralizing the enemy while minimizing the risk to non-combatants and infrastructure.
- Stop vehicles/stop vessels.
- Warning devices that produce an unambiguous signal(s) that are visible, audible, and easily recognizable.
- Disorienting effects on people.
- Temporary immobilizing/paralyzing effects on people.
- Deny an area to individual(s) for an indefinite period of time.
- Move individuals from a room, facility, compartment, or building.
- Deter/stop pursuit by individual(s).
Wired writes that a "stun to kill" switch like the military is looking for has yet to be developed.
The call for SEW is only one of the myriad of items in the bid. Other things include amphibious vehicles, long-duration surveillance capabilities, energy storage for submersible vehicles, and more. According to the bid, the necessity for items such as these come from studies and other analysis that show need for improvement in technologies for special ops teams to successfully complete their missions.