The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has developed a laser-based weapon that will impair vision temporarily to control unruly crowds such as Kashmir’s stone-throwing mobs.
The non-lethal military gadget would be supplied to para-military forces in Jammu and Kashmir within three months, a senior DRDO official said.
When turned on, the gadget, called laser dazzler, sends out radiation to immobilise individuals or crowds without causing permanent injury. The green rays can throw a wave of agony nearly 250 metres away.
AK Maini, who heads the DRDO’s Laser Science and Technology Centre, told HT hand-held laser dazzlers with a range of 50 metres would be supplied to paramilitary forces by October for feedback on performance.
He said a vehicle-mounted weapon system for engaging mobs at nearly 250 metres would be ready by the end of next year. What makes the laser effective is that it doesn’t have to be aimed and shot, it moves like a large circle with a spread of almost 20 metres. It will allow security forces to disperse crowds without inflicting life-threatening injury. Maini said the system was different from Western gadgets that employed millimetre wave technology to repel crowds by targeting different parts of the body.
He explained, “It’s not a stun gun. The laser dazzler targets only the eyes. It could be the perfect solution to de-escalate aggression such as the kind caused by Kashmir’s stone-throwing mobs.”
The DRDO is also working on a laser-based ordnance disposal system to detonate explosives from a safe standoff distance. Also in the pipeline are vehicle and airborne laser systems to engage hostile targets such as aircraft and missiles. These technologies may take up to two years to mature.