That's why pirates wear eye patches - laser guns

Submitted by admin on Wed, 01/12/2011 - 22:45
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BAE Systems is marketing a ship board laser to stop pirates. The laser has a range of 2km as a 'visual warning' that they have been targeted. But as they get closer the strength of the beam is like looking at the Sun, making it impossible to aim rifles or RPGs at the ship. No damage is caused making this a non lethal laser beam. It uses a Neodymium Yttrium Aluminium Garnet laser which is an effective deterrent at relatively low power levels.

Roy Evans, BAE Systems capability technology lead for laser photonic systems, said: “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.”

The beam is about 3 feet wide and could be integrated into the ship's radar systems making the identification and tracking of inbound pirates an automated process. Personally I like the idea but its no substitute for real firearms. Unfortunately having a firearm aboard a ship is a very complex legal problem while traveling through international waters and docking in ports all over the world. So instead ships are either having to bring private security along or hope that the US / UK navy can protect them.

via New Scientist

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