Weaponized Laser Beams: Pirates May Need to Invest in Eye Patches

Laser pointers are both fabulously fun (when used as cat toys), and obscenely obnoxious (when used as anything other than cat toys). But, if you read the warning label on the side of any laser pointer package, you’re advised to avoid direct eye contact with the beam at all costs, as it can be severely disorienting and potentially blinding.

Well now a security company is recommending doing just that—shining huge lasers into people’s eyes. The effect will be the same: the person being shined won’t be able to see anything and will be temporarily blinded.

So why would a security company, especially UK’s defense giant BAE Systems, recommend doing this?

The idea came from the fact that pirates attack commercial ships as they pass through unguarded waters and can easily pillage ships for everything they carry. But if these pirates were to be temporarily blinded as the ships sail by, they wouldn’t have a chance at attacking the ship, or firing weapons at it.

“The effect is similar to when a fighter pilot attacks from the direction of the sun,” said Roy Evans of BAE’s laser photonic systems directorate, in a company statement. “The glare from the laser is intense enough to make it impossible to aim weapons like AK47s or RPGs.”

The laser also comes equipped with its own targeting system, or can be integrated with the ship’s radar system to automatically target pirates as they approach. BAE says its laser is good for providing warning flashes from up to two kilometers away, shining a beam that is too intense for the human eye to handle from anything closer than that.

And unlike those small, cheap laser pointers we played with as kids, this intense laser works just as effectively during the day as it does during nighttime. So pirates, watch out for who you approach on the open waters—you may end up with an eye patch.

(Story and image via Wired)

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