Russian Navy Deploys Nausea-Inducing "Dazzler" on Frigates

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Published Feb 4, 2019 1:57 PM by The Maritime Executive

The Russian Navy is deploying a new class of nonlethal weapon that "dazzles" opponents with "visual optical interference," making it difficult or impossible to take aim with small arms or other weaponry. 

Ruselectronics' new 5P-42 Filin ("Eagle Owl") dazzler will be mounted on two frigates, the Admiral Gorshkov and the Admiral Kasatonov, and two more frigates now under construction will be similarly fitted out. Each vessel will receive two units. 

Testing on Russian volunteers reportedly shows that the system can interfere with eyesight - temporarily and reversibly - at a range of up to three miles. In testing, half of the volunteers reported dizziness and nausea after exposure, and another 20 percent said that they saw a "ball of light" moving in front of their eyes. The Filin system weaponizes these effects in order to "deprive criminals of an opportunity to provide accurate fire," according to Ruselectronics. 

Russian state media reports that the device works by modulating the brightness of the light emitted with "low-frequency oscillations." In another mode, which incorporates high-frequency oscillation of infrared light, the system can reportedly interfere with night vison, infrared laser rangefinders, anti-tank missile guidance systems and other sensor devices. 

Ruselectronics is building a smaller, portable version to support ground troops and special operations. The U.S. and UK militaries have deployed smaller rifle-mounted laser dazzlers for special nonlethal circumstances, including vehicle checkpoint enforcement in Iraq and Afghanistan.