Tuesday, January 19, 2010

SeaLase Offers Shipping Companies Effective Counter to Pirates

Laser Weapon Potential Answer to Hijacks
Shipping News Feature

SOMALIA / UK / FINLAND - A new weapon in the fight against piracy and maritime hijacking is set to make its debut in the next few weeks in the waters around the Horn of Africa when a vessel equipped with a potentially revolutionary laser weapon sails through the troubled region.

The SeaLase, which is made by Finnish-based Lasersec systems and marketed by Proform Marine of Scotland, is a laser-based defence system which is capable of disabling a skiff of pirates at a distance of one kilometre and driving them off with no damage to their health.

Speaking to the Handy Shipping Guide, Paul Kerr, Director at Proform Marine, said that: “At a kilometre it’s like looking at the sun. In addition, the seven-pulse per second pattern inspires nausea in the target. You just can’t stand to look at it.”

Explaining the operation of the SeaLase, Kerr said: “The beam is conical, starting as very tight to the emitter but expanding as the range increases.

“At one kilometre the beam is ten metres wide. Anyone within this cone and looking towards the source would be affected.”

“With the effective range of an RPG around 600 meters and AK-47’s about 300 meters with group fire, this means the SeaLase can effectively neutralise and discourage the threat of attack well outside the effective threat range.”

In addition, the fact that the beam is visible at four kilometres should mean that would-be attackers with experience of the weapon should avoid contact if it is seen from the more than effective range.

The SeaLase can be mounted as a dedicated in built defence system with integrated targeting from either radar systems or thermal imagers. However, it is just as capable of use whilst fitted to a pair of binoculars with manual aiming, meaning that for shipping lines who are seeking a cheap and effective counter measure to the threat of piracy for their freight and container vessels they can simply purchase the system and have their crew trained to operate it by Proform’s trainers.

“The thing is, this is all established technology,” said Kerr. “This is the same principle as used by modern military crowd control equipment. We’ve taken this proven technology and marinised it so as to make it easy to use from and against pitching targets at sea.”

With piracy apparently surging around the globe, it's possible that the SeaLase could be the ideal solution to many of the maritime industries security woes.