Seagoing Scottish mercenaries/security operatives say they have deployed a radical laser puke-ray weapon aboard shipping transiting the pirate-plagued Gulf of Aden. The device may also be used on paparazzi by reclusive superyacht owners.
The Scotsman reports that ProForm Marine, a company run by ex-Royal Marine commandos and police officers, has provided its "SeaLase" weapon to an unnamed "500ft-long ship" which will be passing through the gulf "next month".
ProForm says it "works closely with superyacht owners and shipping companies" to protect vessels from "Paparazzi, Piracy and terrorism". The firm's management adds it can draw on a "pool of former Royal Marines to assist in 24-hour marine security".
Apart from teams of former commandos, the company also offers technological solutions to shipowners worried about piracy or muckraking tabloid snappers. It offers the "Sea Owl" thermal camera system, intended to work with a ship's radar to zoom in on possibly-threatening radar blips and positively identify them - in much the same way as the radar-linked cameras used in military reconnaissance drones.
Now, however, the Scotsman reports that ProForm has partnered with Finnish firm Arctic Photonics to promote "Lasersec". The multicoloured raygun "affects the vision" of its victims, making them feel "nauseous and disorientated". The designers claim an effective range of 4km.
There would seem to be some similarities here with the so-called "Dazer" handheld belly-scrambler weapons now offered for sale in America; not to mention similar vom-rays under development by the US Department of Homeland Security and the US Navy. Nonetheless, Lasersec describe their gear as "the only Laser based threat deterrent system designed specifically for the needs of the commercial sector".
Despite the current emphasis on Somali freebooters reaving shipping headed to or from the Bab-el-Mandeb strait at the foot of the Red Sea (the only way to reach the Suez canal from the Indian Ocean), one may note that Lasersec/ProForm have recently opened an office in Monaco - one of the main centres of the superyacht biz.
It may just be that the chunder-culverin will spend as much time tackling the paparazzo threat as it does pirates. Rather than administering a dazzling sickener to buccaneering Africans bent on plunder, it will instead leave intrusive snappers floundering in pools of their own regurgitated dinner; their plans to garner a lucrative billionaire's-concubine jacuzzi nipslip shot frustrated.
Reportedly, the hurl-howitzer has been shortlisted for the "John Logie Baird Awards for innovation". ®