Army testing green laser kits in Afghanistan
June 2, 2010
By Debi Dawson
PICATINNY ARSENAL, N.J. (Army News Service, June 2, 2010) -- The Army's Program Executive Office Soldier is fielding several Green Laser Escalation of Force, or GLEF, kits to units in Afghanistan for operational assessment.
The GLEF systems are mounted as an accessory to Common Remotely Operated Weapon Stations or CROWS, the turret system that provides Soldiers the ability to employ cameras, sensors and weapons from inside the protection of an armored vehicle. The non-lethal green-light laser gives Soldiers an interim step before escalating force while conducting daily operations.
"Protecting civilian populations is critical to our success in fighting insurgencies," said Col. Douglas Tamilio, project manager for Soldier Weapons. "Green lasers have proven safe and effective as a non-lethal tool that sends a strong message without the need to employ deadly force."
The GLEF system emits a wide band of green light that temporarily disrupts a person's vision so that driving a vehicle or aiming a weapon becomes difficult if not impossible. One application would be to warn civilians away from checkpoints and other areas where their safety is at risk. At closer distances, the lasers provide an immediate, nonlethal capability to deter aggressive actions.
"The human eye is four times more sensitive to green light than to red light during the day and far more sensitive at night," explained Maj. Michael Pottratz, program manager for Crew Served Weapons. "The effect is the same as looking at the sun for a fraction of a second. The lasers send a warning signal across language and cultural barriers to keep innocent people from entering into harm's way."
While green lasers have been commercially available for a number of years, the system configuration for use as a CROWS accessory is a new development. By employing previously tested and approved technologies, engineers were able to design, assemble and field the new configuration for use in CROWS systems in less than 12 months.
Select units will test the systems for 90 days and report back to PEO Soldier on system performance and its impact on operations. Soldier input will be incorporated into the final designs.
(Debi Dawson serves with PEO Soldier public affairs.)