Shiver Me, er, Lasers? The Anti-Pirate Laser Weapon

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Green laser light

How have the Brits decided to defend their sea-faring fleet in the Gulf of Arden and the Arabian Sea from Somali pirates? With a laser show of course.

The defense company BAE Systems, better known for its aeronautical endeavors, has developed a new technology to defend ships from pirate vessels up to a mile away. The non-lethal device surrounds the ship in a green laser shroud which hinders potential attackers from setting an accurate course or aiming their weapons by disorientating the pirates.

(See Somali Pirates in TIME’s Top 10 Clashes at Sea.)

The device is visible day and night and provides a much needed cloak of safety for ships navigating the waters of Eastern Africa. It was developed as protection against the increasing number of hijackings in the area. The laser system eliminates the element of surprise that pirates depend on, giving the legitimate sea-men an advantage. ‘The laser provides a secondary capability over larger distances as it can act like a warning,” Bryan Hore, head of the BAE Systems anti-piracy department, told the Daily Telegraph. The laser has not yet been approved by the U.N. but it could be mounted on smaller yachts as well as larger commercial and military vessels.

(See Who Banned Laser Pointers.)

Although a laser show to scare off pirates might seem crazy, it’s a sure-fire safer way of fighting off pirates than manning the Long 9 cannons. (Via Daily Mail.)