The military’s new weapon is a ray gun that shoots a beam that makes people feel as if they will catch fire.

The technology is supposed to be harmless — a non-lethal way to get enemies to drop their weapons. Military officials say it could save the lives of innocent civilians and service members in places like Iraq and Afghanistan.

The weapon is not expected to go into production until at least 2010, but all branches of the military have expressed interest in it, officials said.

During the first media demonstration of the weapon Wednesday, airmen fired beams from a large dish antenna mounted atop a Humvee at people pretending to be rioters and acting out other scenarios U.S. troops might encounter. More…