"The effect is similar to when a fighter pilot attacks from the direction of the sun," Roy Evans, BAE Systems capability technology lead for laser photonic systems said in a press release from the company. "The glare from the laser is intense enough to make it impossible to aim weapons like AK47s or RPGs, but doesn't have a permanent effect."
Tests showed that the laser works well both in daylight and at night.
BAE sees this device as something that could be combined with a ships targeting and radar systems to help aim the device. And they've built in security features that would prevent the laser from being used if pirates managed to take over the ship.
As of January 10, 2011, Somali pirates hold 25 vessels and 586 people hostage.
Caption: Instead of a laser, sailors aboard the French Navy ship "La Somme" direct a high-powered light at a small craft after a pirate attack during the night. Credit: Corbis