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.
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.
Dazzle gun is a type of laser weapon which uses green light to disorient and temporary blind the pirates. The concentrated blast of green light can be used during both day and night. Dazzlers emit infrared or invisible light against various electronic sensors, and visible light against humans, when they are intended to cause no long-term damage to eyes. The emitters are usually lasers, making what is termed a laser dazzler. Most of the contemporary systems are man-portable, and operate in either the red (a laser diode) or green (a diode-pumped solid-state laser, DPSS) areas of the electromagnetic spectrum. The green laser is chosen for its unique ability to react with the human eye. The green laser is less harmful to human eyes.
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.
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.
In 2018 there have been at least four incidents in which US service members have been targeted with military-grade or non military-grade lasers originating near a Chinese military installation in Djibouti, according to The Wall Street Journal. There have also been additional incidents occurring within US Pacific Command. In one of the most recent incidents, two C-130 pilots became dizzy and saw “rings,” but are recovering, The Journal reported.
Since 2015, China has had at least four different kinds of blinding laser weapons: the BBQ-905 Laser Dazzler Weapon, the WJG-2002 Laser Gun, the PY132A Blinding Laser Weapon and the PY131A Blinding Laser Weapon. The four weapons “look like oversized assault rifles or shoulder-fired grenade launchers,” according to The War Zone, which possibly violate the United Nations Protocol on Blinding Laser Weapons that Beijing signed in 1998, according to the Free Beacon.
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.
Weapons designed to cause permanent blindness are banned by the 1995 United Nations Protocol on Blinding Laser Weapons. The dazzler is a non-lethal weapon intended to cause temporary blindness or disorientation and therefore falls outside this protocol.
Conducted Energy Weapon (CEW)
A Conducted Energy Weapon (CEW) is a device that delivers low amperage electrical current into its target, temporarily impacting the sensory and motor nervous system. When properly deployed, a CEW can disable an assailant with limited risk of long term or substantial injury. The most popular CEWs available to Security Officers and the general public are produced by Axon and other companies. Most people refer to CEWs as “Tasers” and refer to the neuro-muscular incapacitating effects of the CEW as being “Tazed”.
Turkish handgun-shaped taser called the Wattozz.
The citizens and police of South Africa have a new option for personal protection: A Turkish company called Albayraklar Group just launched a new handgun-shaped taser called the Wattozz. CEO Sertan Ayçiçek told Hürriyet Daily News that the Wattozz could prevent unnecessary injuries at the hands of police officers, as the weapon is capable of administering non-lethal electric shocks from a distance without the wires that limit conventional electroshock weapons.
Albayraklar Group published a bizarre promotional video demonstrating how the Wattozz works. Basically, the handgun-resembling weapon comes loaded with two projectile “bullets” that can stick to a target and be controlled remotely to deliver electric shocks at various strengths.
The Wattozz is already available in Turkey and Malaysia, Hürriyet Daily News reports, where it has since grown in popularity, perhaps because of the company’s claims that the weapon is less likely to cause serious or permanent injuries than other electroshock weapons.
‘Paralyzer’ Laser Drones Developed for the Russian Military
A drone paralyzer designed with a stun gun and a blinding laser was developed for the Russian security forces, Yuri Klyonov, advisor to the general director of the Scientific and Production Association of Special Materials, told in May 2019.
A drone weighing a little over a kilogram can carry a remote stun gun, as well as an LED or laser blinding device that causes a person to temporarily lose sight without adverse health effects. “A terrorist, a criminal or an adversary can be neutralized even in a shelter or through a window pane,” said Klyonov.
The drone is equipped with a camera that allows the operator to assess the situation on the ground and keep video recording. Additionally, a loudspeaker, a siren and a thermal imager can be installed on the drone. It is assumed that the device can be used to control restricted areas to visit; It can be used both in the city and in open or mountainous terrain.
Russian navy fits warships with hallucinogenic weapons
The Russian navy has begun fitting warships with “visual optical interference” weapons that can cause hallucinations, blindness and vomiting, according to reports
The 5P-42 Filin is a ‘non-lethal’ device that releases a dazzling strobe-like beam to disrupt an enemy’s eyesight – causing them to miss their targets but also inducing deliriousness and vomiting. Both the Admiral Gorshkov and Admiral Kasatonov warships have been fitted with a Filin weapon, according to the state-operated Russian news agency RIA Novosti.
Developed by Ruselectronics, the device was tested by volunteers shooting various weapons – including assault rifles, snipers and machine guns – at targets under the Filin’s protection. All the participants saw their accuracy reduced because of impaired vision. Around half of the participants in the tests noted signs of disorientation, nausea and dizziness, RIA reported. Every fifth volunteer who experienced the beam felt its hallucinogenic effect and noted ‘a ball of light moving in front of the eyes’.
The Filin – meaning Eagle Owl – can also suppress infrared lasers and night vision devices, as well as the guidance systems of anti-tank guided missiles at a distance of up to five kilometers. Admiral Gorshkov and Admiral Kasatonov have two Filin weapons each. The warships make up part of Russia’s Northern Fleet that patrols the Arctic Ocean. Two further ships, which are currently under construction, will also be fitted with the weapon.
Visual optical interference (VOI) weapons are “also designed to interfere with aiming devices and some weapons”, reports science website Popular Mechanics. According to Moscow’s state media, the Filin works best at twilight and night-time, creating fast pulses of bright light that dazzle onlookers. Representatives of Roselectronics, the weapon’s developer, told Sputnik that engineers are working on modifications and upgrading the range of the existing system. The system “does not result in a permanent loss of vision, but reduces firing effectiveness by 300-500 percent,” according to developer, but works more as a “system of protection against weapons” that “may cause some hallucinatory symptoms.”
An official also revealed that a “weaker” version of the system could also be used by the “civilian market, including use by large companies for security or for guarded facilities.”
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.
Global Non-lethal Weapons Market
The “Non-lethal Weapons Market – Growth, Trends, and Forecast (2019 – 2024)” report has been added to ResearchAndMarkets.com’s offering. The non-lethal weapons market is estimated to register a CAGR of 4.56% during the forecast period, 2019-2024.
Increasing armed violence and political tensions have resulted in governments across the world taking precautions and arming the military and the police forces with non-lethal weapons. Instances of civilian violence and clashes with armed forces in Asia and Europe have led to the deployment of non-lethal weapons.
These factors will continue to drive the demand for non-lethal weapons, as law enforcement agencies try to reduce fatalities and casualties in such events, which is expected to help the market during the forecast period. The emphasis on the increase in homeland security budget in the United States is likely to increase the procurement of non-lethal weapons, in the years to come. Technological advancements, in terms of non-lethal weapons, are expected to provide growth opportunities for the market in the years to come.
At present, the ammunition segment has the highest market share out of all the segments. Technological advancements are likely to lead to the development of new non-lethal ammunition in the future, which may propel the growth of the market in the coming years. The different types of non-lethal ammunition are rubber bullets, wax bullets, plastic bullets, bean bag rounds, and sponge grenades.
Rubber bullets are rubber or rubber-coated projectiles that are fired from standard firearms or dedicated riot guns. They are used for short range practice, animal control, and riot control. Rubber projectiles have been replaced by other materials as rubber tends to bounce uncontrollably. Wax bullets are most commonly used for indoor pistol target practice. The projectiles are made from melted paraffin, bee wax, or candle, and they are propelled only by a primer
In the non-lethal weapons market, North America has generated the highest revenue among all regions. However, the growth of the Asia-Pacific region is expected to be the highest during the forecast period. With the escalating tensions in the Kashmir Valley and protests all over India, during the past few years, the demand for less-lethal weapons has increased. Occasional riots and civil unrest, such as demonstrations and protests in cities in eastern China, often in connection with labor-related, environmental, and educational issues, have led to the police forces resorting to the use of non-lethal ammunition, which, collectively, shall have a positive impact on the growth of the market.