BAE Systems: Adapting Aviation Laser Weapons System to Maritime Piracy

This just in!

New Non-Lethal Weapon to Fight Pirates in
Trial Stage of Development

Richard Gray, Laser Canons to Defend Ships from Pirates, Science Correspondent for The Telegraph, London, January 9, 2011

Lasers canons could be mounted on ships and boats to help fight off pirates attempting to board the vessels.

How many millions of dollars went into this adaptation of an Aviation Laser Weapons System to the maritime environment to defend against pirates when the simple defense against the Green Laser are red-lense protective eyewear?

See also BAE Systems Press Release, Dazzling Display to Combat Piracy, undated, but probably January 9, 2011.

“It can work in day light as well as night by directing a concentrated three foot wide beam of bright green light at a target which can temporarily dazzle anyone who looks at it. …”

“Pirates approaching a vessel rely on the element of surprise, so by detecting those vessels and directing a laser onto them more than a kilometre away, it provides a clear signal to them. As the pirates come closer to about 400 or 500 metres of the ship, the power of the laser can be increased so that it affects their concentration and distracts them.”

AK-47’s effecting shooting range is 400 meters with sighting range of 800 meters calibrated for every 100 meteres.

RPG-7’s Max Effective Range is 500 m (PG-7V warhead), up to 1400 m as improvised indirect-fire; varies by warhead. (See

The Pirate’s Counter-Measure to the Green Laser

If the Green Laser beam is 3 feet in diameter then the pirates will just team up in pairs to approach their target merchant vessel with a separation of 100 feet while wearing protective eyewear. Since AK47’s are useless at 1,500 meters and RPG’s are hit or miss at that range the pirates will find more suitable weapons with an effective shooting range of 1,500 meters like the Russian PKM/PKMS Kalishnikov with a sighting range of, whaddaknow!, 1,500 meters.

Denial of the Human Right of Armed Self-Defense
Is a Denial of the Human Right to Life of Innocent Seafarers

Non-lethal weapons like the Green Lasers are a laughing joke when the pirates can easily change their tactics to adapt to the Green Laser just like they adapted to defeat the Djibouti Code of Conduct by expanding their operating area. What is the aversion to arming U.S. merchant vessels and and training their crew under the Merchant Marine Act of 1936?

The Governments of the World have to accept reality of the maritime environment. Seafarers have the human right to armed self-defense against pirates on the high seas. It’s a damn circus to watch the Government and private sector weapons industry run around with R & D for new non-lethal weapons systems for corporate owners of merchant ships while ignoring the Merchant Marine Act of 1936 and the Second Amendment rights of the individual crew. Adaptation it appears is poorly understood by the Government while the pirates adapt quickly and efficiently. Damn, the Pirates have a perfect business model. See, The Economist, Which MBA? Pirate Copy: What Managers can Learn from Somali Pirates, November 7, 2010; Scott Carney, An Economic Analysis of the Somali Pirate Business Model: Cutthroat Capitalism, July 13, 2009; Chana Joffe-Walt, Behind the Business Plan of Pirates, Inc., NPR, April 30, 2009; Niraj Chokshi, How to Run Your Business Like a Somali Pirate, The Atlantic, March 22, 2010; Mark Leon Goldberg, The Somali Pirates’ Business Model, U.N. Dispatch, March 17, 2010.


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