BAE Systems develops laser weapon to attack pirates

  • 12:00 AM, January 11, 2011
  • 6743
Ne 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. Piracy worldwide is on the rise according to reports from the ICC's International Maritime Bureau (IMB), with 430 attacks worldwide reported last year, up from 406 in 2009. As pirates increase their range of operations and their capabilities, commercial shipping agents are increasingly looking for ways of preventing attacks whilst avoiding armed guards on their ships. In order to help combat the growing piracy threat BAE Systems conducted a study of pirate's behaviour and a company-wide capability survey. This led to the development of the concept of using a non-lethal laser, which would leave only temporary effects, to distract and deter potential attackers from a distance. 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. At all times the power levels of the laser remain eye safe.