Gulf states are planning to use ray guns to protect their oil and gas infrastructure and also dissuade pirate attacks.
Raytheon, the largest manufacturer of missiles in the world and one of the largest US defense contractors, has developed a ray gun called the ‘Silent Guardian’.
“Silent Guardian directs a focused beam of millimeter wave energy that travels at the speed of light producing an intolerable sensation that causes targeted individuals to flee or take cover.
The sensation immediately ceases when an individual moves away from the beam or the operator discontinues engagement. Silent Guardian does not cause injury because of the shallow penetration depth of the millimeter wave and the safety features built into the system.”
Taken from Raytheon’s website.
Kevin Massengill, Raytheon’s vice president and regional executive, said that “the capability in a maritime application would allow you to defend ships against pirates being able to board. That is a really great technology that our business in Tucson has married up with acoustic hailers and ship defenses. It is a great product for shipping to use in a purely defense capability.”
The United Nations estimates that piracy cost the global shipping industry as much as $12 billion last year alone.
However, due to the non-lethal nature of the technology it is also being used against civilians to keep them away from oil and gas infrastructure, in order to prevent accidental damage.
Massengill said that “the technology has been used in critical infrastructure protection. If you are the Abu Dhabi Maritime Authority of the coast guard, for example, one of the things you are constantly frustrated with is local fishermen encroaching in on very expensive oil and gas infrastructure.”
“It is not that you want to shot anybody, or anything that they are doing is deliberate, but it could be dangerous if they moor on the wrong thing… So this kind of technology is exactly what you want to be able to bridge the gap between lethal force and being able to defend critical infrastructure. That is what it is being used for right now in the region.”
By James Burgess of Oilprice.com