Laser Beams in 1982

Of course that kind of thing is frowned upon now but the ever dependable 30 year rule on the release of old documents has thrown up some  interesting information on the development and limited deployment of naval laser weapons in 1982 for use in the Falkland Islands conflict.

Called Raker and Shingle apparently

[browser-shot width=”600″ url=”http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2382369/Ministry-Defence-developed-laser-weaponry-dazzle-low-flying-Argentinian-pilots-Falklands-War.html”]

No sharks though

Updated to add a couple of interesting tweets

 

 

 

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Fluffy Thoughts
Fluffy Thoughts
August 1, 2013 8:47 pm

Old news indeed. Didn’t the Spanish cause a fuss after The Conflict. Apparently the noticed a few laser-type weapons on a Type-22 in Gibraltar (IIRC). The cover-story was it was part of the guidence system for the new SeaWolf missle.

Not sure about Beaver’s D-Notice though.

Craig
Craig
August 1, 2013 9:22 pm

Third hand info from PPRuNe:

Woodward in ‘One Hundred Days’:

“The pity was that Plymouth had not had time to turn right around, because she was fitted with the new laser equipment known locally to us as ‘Flasher’ – which could well have stopped the attack in its tracks, because it literrally forces any incoming pilot to pull up sharply during the forty-second period in which he cannot see”

“Friedman´s Naval Institute Guide to Naval Weapons Systems DEC Laser Dazzler was on both carriers, both Type 22`s and HMS Argonaut.

According to the book: “It may have caused the loss of several Argentine aircraft, including one whose pilot reported that intense glare had driven him away from an attack on HMS Argonaut”

Really, I don´t know any Argentine A/C lost due laser attack. Less than any attack was aborted due to “intense glare”. I think the builder was overoptimistic at the time or trying to sell it to other buyers…”

mike
mike
August 1, 2013 9:41 pm

Russian Tu-95’s also had a similar system, though would have been little help against Sparrows and Sky Flash. Indeed laser pens are a major nuisance now and easy to get;

http://theaviationist.com/2013/07/01/mi-8-lasers-cairo/#.UfrVpG0kw9U
http://theaviationist.com/2013/07/02/ah-64-lasers/#.UfrVq20kw9U

Would be interesting to read (not see ;) ) how intense the military spec ones were/are… question though, would we use such visual and sonic soft kill/deter methods again?

x
x
August 1, 2013 9:56 pm

Paul Beaver? Wow. Big time defence commentary. :)

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
August 1, 2013 10:58 pm

“You invade our islands, and then fly to attack our ships in close visual range. So fuck you if we dazzle your pilots with a laser. Tough luck”

Can’t see the harm in it, myself.

We did some trials with a new Naval frigate in Lulworth in 92, pinging Challenger lasers at them while they sorted out their drills just offshore in Arish Mell gap. (I think it was trials of new LWRs installed onboard, not whether the Andrew could close one eye and not crash into a cliff – I think they’d sorted that non-cliff crashing business by then)

My daughter has a yellow triangle warning sign installed on her bedroom door that says “Warning. Big Scary Laser. Do not look into beam with remaining eye”. (She’s got an old and knackered webcam that he doesn’t remember plonked on top of her wardrobe facing the door, and points to it). But she’s teenaged, and still my darling little 8 year old boy is scared of the sign, which is just as it should be.

Swimming Trunks
Swimming Trunks
August 1, 2013 11:40 pm

I was reading a report recently about future US capabilities(force 2020 I think) which mentioned lasers for detecting and blinding enemy optics – similar to anti-sniper tech mentioned awhile back on this site. However, it said the tech would be limited to the former due to legal problems over the later.

jed
jed
August 2, 2013 12:47 am

We had them on my first gulf deployment in 84/85, and on later deployments too. Long oblong box on a modded GPMG mount, separate power supply underneath, manually aimed ! I seem to remember some highly negative press coverage when some one figured out that they might be continuous wave rather than pulsed, which apparently was against the Geneva Conventions………

In the event of attack by Iranian Phantoms or F5 with TV guided Maverick we were to shine laser down the bearing and flash 10 inch and 15 inch signal projectors in order to confuse the TV tracking !

Observer
Observer
August 2, 2013 1:55 am

Mike, think those work differently to the visual dazzler lasers, aircraft lasers are more meant to play hob with IR seekers.

Think there was a laser defence system they called the Skyguard(?) which worked by confusing the IR seeker of MANPADs.

Observer
Observer
August 2, 2013 2:07 am

My bad, the system was called C-MUSIC. Skyguard was the overpriced attempt at creating the Death Star laser.

DomS
DomS
August 2, 2013 8:08 am

I seem to remember this weapon being listed in the classic naval boardgame Harpoon 4 (1997) so it’s not new. And as has been mentioned above, I believe it was decided that it was in breach of the geneva conventions (although it wasn’t designed to cause lasting damage, unlike Sea Dart for example!). Manual aiming was a drag, but I imagine it could be quite effective with a more sophisticated targeting system.

as
as
August 2, 2013 10:33 am

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protocol_on_Blinding_Laser_Weapons
you have to be carful with the strength you use.

Observer
Observer
August 2, 2013 11:10 am

Chinese tanks have them as standard defences. Go figure that they would not be concerned with Human Rights.

Fedaykin
August 2, 2013 4:18 pm

The recent reports and the statements that they were not used has left me rather bemused. As already pointed out it is old news, my 97-98 Naval institute guide has a bit about them on page 362 where it says several DEC went with the task-force and at least one Argentine pilot reported being driven away by a bright light. The system itself was declassified in 1990! Considering vessels in the task-force even had matelots with SLR rifles on deck trying to shoot down Argentine fighters I struggle to imagine that they wouldn’t have a go with the laser dazzlers installed.