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BAE Systems develops disorientating laser weapon

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An artistic concept of 'Laser distraction' build by BAE System. Photo: BAE

BRISTOL (BNS): BAE Systems has successfully demonstrated a prototype device that will serve as an effective non-lethal deterrent against pirate attacks on commercial vessels such as oil tankers and container ships.

BAE Systems has developed a concept of using a non-lethal laser, which would leave only temporary effects, to distract and deter potential attackers from a distance, according to a company release.

Researchers from the Optics and Laser Technology Department and the Advanced Technology Centre have conducted a number of experiments to assess the feasibility of laser distraction as a non-lethal weapon. The research team has now successfully demonstrated a suitable laser at the Pershore Trials Range in Worcester over a variety of distances in a variety of conditions.

The laser beam is capable of providing a visual warning to pirates at distances greater than 2km and of disorientating attackers sufficiently at lesser distances so that weapons cannot be targeted effectively.

“The effect is similar to when a fighter pilot attacks from the direction of the sun. The glare from the laser is intense enough to make it impossible to aim weapons like AK47s or RPGs, but doesn’t have a permanent effect,” Roy Evans, BAE Systems capability technology lead for laser photonic systems, said.

The laser was trialled during night and day in varying weather conditions at the Worcester facility. Cameras were placed at the target location to demonstrate the level of beam intensity and divergence produced by the test runs.

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BAE  Weapon  
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