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Arrival of Handheld Laser Weapons as non-lethal weapons with longer range

The cities have become the new battleground and Urban Warfare new warfare model, from Iraqi-led coalition forces fighting ISIS, Boko Haram is carrying out its urban terror campaign against the Nigerian Army and its allies, to Afgan security forces carrying gun battles in heavily populated areas in fighting Taliban. Indian Armed Forces and Jammu and Kashmir Police are facing Stone Pelting in Kashmir that refers to criminal rock throwing by Kashmiri youth who pelt, bombard or throw stones on them.

 

The security forces fighting urban warfare desire scalable effect weapons for personal incapitation, that subdue and/or incapacitate ( not kill) single or multiple targets in closed or open environments. Weapons are also required for vehicle interdiction that could stop/disable moving vehicle, up to high rates of speed, without harming vehicle occupants. Such weapons are also called Non lethal Weapons. Stop Aircraft on Ground Disable Aircraft on Ground Divert Aircraft in Air

 

The US Department of Defense (DoD) defines non-lethal weapons (NLWs) as weapons, devices, and munitions that are explicitly designed—and primarily employed—to immediately incapacitate targeted personnel or materiel, while minimizing fatalities, permanent injury to personnel, and undesired damage to property in the target area or environment.

 

Non-lethal weapons fill gaps between verbal warnings and lethal force. Security forces use these non-lethal weapons to deter hostile crowds. They have been urgently needed and used by U.S. forces in Somalia, Kosovo, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Haiti. They have been found useful in disaster management like in the aftermath of the 2010 Haiti earthquake, where non-lethal weapons were used when riots occurred at food distribution sites. The need for non-lethal weapons is also increasing for the maritime environment where terrorists used small boats as the asymmetric weapon of choice, indistinguishable in heavily trafficked littorals.

 

Recently the Directed Energy Weapons (DEWs), especially laser DEWs are being developed as non lethal weapons. DEW is a system  that uses Directed Energy primarily as a means to incapacitate, damage, disable or destroy enemy equipment, facilities and/or personnel. Directed energy has the potential to yield cost effective weapons that can deliver precise, scalable effects – and at long ranges – with a large magazine capacity. Several DEW technologies that have shown promise include high power micro and millimeter wave, and lasers of various kinds (solid-state, chemical, fiber), both airborne and ground.

 

U.S. Marine Corps is developing a crowd control device which can neutralise huge crowds from thousands of feet away and send them into a daze and even vaporise skin, as Sean Martin reports in The Express.

 

China  ‘laser AK-47’ that can set fire to targets a kilometre away

China has developed a new portable laser weapon that can zap a target from nearly a kilometre away, according to researchers involved in the project.  The ZKZM-500 laser assault rifle is classified as being “non-lethal” but produces an energy beam that cannot be seen by the naked eye but can pass through windows and cause the “instant carbonisation” of human skin and tissues. Ten years ago its capabilities would have been the preserve of sci-fi films, but one laser weapons scientist said the new device is able to “burn through clothes in a split second … If the fabric is flammable, the whole person will be set on fire”.

 

The 15mm calibre weapon weighs three kilos (6.6lb), about the same as an AK-47, and has a range of 800 metres, or half a mile, and could be mounted on cars, boats and planes. It is now ready for mass production and the first units are likely to be given to anti-terrorism squads in the Chinese Armed Police.

 

In the event of a hostage situation it could be used to fire through windows at targets and temporarily disable the kidnappers while other units move in to rescue their captives. It could also be used in covert military operations. The beam is powerful enough to burn through a gas tank and ignite the fuel storage facility in a military airport. Because the laser has been tuned to an invisible frequency, and it produces absolutely no sound, “nobody will know where the attack came from. It will look like an accident,” another researcher said. The scientists requested not to be named due to the sensitivity of the project.

Laser crowd control weapon developed by USMC

 

A laser weapon devised by the US Marines will allow the forces to send voice messages at long range which can be turned up to deafen, dazzle or even kill. The weapon will be known as the Scalable Compact Ultra-short Pulse Laser System (SCUPLS) and will be placed on trucks and tanks, according to official Government documents mentioned by Sean Martin.

 

The documents describe the project’s goal as to: “Develop a lightweight and energy efficient next-generation Ultra-Short Pulse Laser (USPL) system that can produce sustainable and controllable plasma at range capable of inducing a full spectrum of scalable non-lethal effects.” The laser creates a small ball of plasma fired from long-range which can be used to create “enhanced non-lethal effects such as flash bang effects, thermal ablation for pain, and delivery of intelligible voice commands at range”.

 

SCUPLS will initially be used for non-lethal purposes, but it may be developed in the future to kill, as the document says: “Advancement of possible full spectrum of effects capabilities from non-lethal to lethal, along with added Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance system capabilities.” On the lowest setting, the laser will produce a voice message which can be heard from up to a thousand metres away.

 

There are several other notches – one is the ‘flash bang effect’ which will send people into a daze. Another is the ‘flash blind effect’ which will temporarily take away sight. The most extreme setting is the ‘Full scalable thermal ablative effects’ which can painfully burn the outer layer of skin.

 

 

References and Resources also include:

https://www.armyrecognition.com/weapons_defence_industry_military_technology_uk/laser_crowd_control_weapon_developed_by_usmc.html

https://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy-defence/article/2153310/china-brings-star-wars-life-laser-ak-47-could-set-fire

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