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PhaSR – the first man-portable, non-lethal deterrent weapon


November 4, 2005

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November 5, 2005 No this is not a movie prop nor will it be marketed by Mattel for the bigger boys this Christmas– it is one of two working prototypes of a non-lethal laser gun built by the Air Force Research Laboratory's Directed Energy Directorate. The non-lethal illumination technology weapon was developed by the laboratory's ScorpWorks team. Dubbed the PhaSR (who needs a Madison Avenue creative team when you can come up with names like this – an acronym for Personnel Halting and Stimulation Response), it is the first man-portable, non-lethal deterrent weapon and is intended for protecting troops and controlling hostile crowds. The weapon employs a two-wavelength laser system and is a hand-held, single-operator system for troop and perimeter defense. The weapon’s laser light temporarily blinds its targets.

The first two prototypes are being tested by the laboratory's own Human Effectiveness Directorate at Brooks City Base, Texas, and the Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate at Quantico, Virginia.

"The future is here with PHaSR," said Capt. Thomas Wegner program manager. Captain Wegner is also the ScorpWorks flight commander within the laser division of the energy directorate here. ScorpWorks is a unit of military scientists and engineers that develops laser system prototypes for AFRL, from beginning concept to product field testing.

The National Institute of Justice recently awarded ScorpWorks US$250,000 to make an advanced prototype that will add an eye-safe laser range finder into PHaSR. Systems such as PHaSR have historically been too powerful at close ranges and ineffective but eye-safe at long ranges. The next prototype is planned to include the addition of the eye-safe range finder and is planned for completion in March 2006.

About the Author
Mike Hanlon Mike grew up thinking he would become a mathematician, accidentally started motorcycle racing, got a job writing road tests for a motorcycle magazine while at university, and became a writer. As a travelling photojournalist during his early career, his work was published in a dozen languages across 20+ countries. He went on to edit or manage over 50 print publications, with target audiences ranging from pensioners to plumbers, many different sports, many car and motorcycle magazines, with many more in the fields of communication - narrow subject magazines on topics such as advertising, marketing, visual communications, design, presentation and direct marketing. Then came the internet and Mike managed internet projects for Australia's largest multimedia company, Telstra.com.au (Australia's largest Telco), Seek.com.au (Australia's largest employment site), top100.com.au, hitwise.com, and a dozen other internet start-ups before founding Gizmag in 2002. Now he writes and thinks. All articles by Mike Hanlon

Um- note to self: order mirrors and sheets of developed negative film for next riot attendance.


@Johnnydfred; I love your response! lol. Wrap ones self in aluminum foil...or peel the mirrors off of a disco-ball and glue them to your closes. lol. You could possibly wear red laser-stop glasses. We use laser-stop glasses when using laser transits in construction. they stop the invisible ray from the transit. They also allow you to see the lasers target. So you could use your mirror to target the shooter. lol.

Truth is though, anyone smart enough to counter things like this are smart enough to not be there. lol.


Note to self: I\'m in a situation where people are shooting at me, throwing fire bombs at me, trying to do harm to me. I use this stupid laser non lethal weapon at the crazies and they laugh at me as they throw and shoot more missiles at me. Finally I\'m knocked down and the crazies get my NON-lethal weapon and use it on my friendly troops, except they use the weapon to blind us and shoot \"real\" bullets at us to kill us. Plain and simple... stupid.

S Michael
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