A laser weapon devised by the US Marines will allow the forces to send voice messages at long range which can be turned up to deafen, dazzle or even kill.
The machine will be known as the Scalable Compact Ultra-short Pulse Laser System (SCUPLS) and will be placed on trucks and tanks, according to official Government documents.
The documents describe the project’s goal as to: “Develop a lightweight and energy efficient next-generation Ultra-Short Pulse Laser (USPL) system that can produce sustainable and controllable plasma at range capable of inducing a full spectrum of scalable non-lethal effects.”
The laser creates a small ball of plasma fired from long-range which can be used to create “enhanced non-lethal effects such as flash bang effects, thermal ablation for pain, and delivery of intelligible voice commands at range”.
SCUPLS will initially be used for non-lethal purposes, but it may be developed in the future to kill, as the document says: “Advancement of possible full spectrum of effects capabilities from non-lethal to lethal, along with added Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance system capabilities.”
On the lowest setting, the laser will produce a voice message which can be heard from up to a thousand metres away.
There are several other notches – one is the ‘flash bang effect’ which will send people into a daze.
Another is the ‘flash blind effect’ which will temporarily take away sight. The most extreme setting is the ‘Full scalable thermal ablative effects’ which can painfully burn the outer layer of skin.
The strategy for the weapon is detailed in the document: “It have direct application to many other US Government agencies as well as civilian law enforcement.
“The Department of Homeland Security, Department of State, Department of Justice, the Secret Service, and Customs and Border Protection also desire this full spectrum of effects capability.
“The ability to non-lethally interdict a threatening person or persons has utility in many security and crowd control applications to include several municipal applications.”
A prototype for the laser will be built as early as next year.