Classic films featuring duels often began the scene with one participant allowing the other to “Choose your weapon.” If it was a comedy, the quick-thinking opponent would opt for an enjoyable and safe option like cream pies or Nerf guns. Today, that list might include a new weapon being installed on two Russian warships – a gun that causes the target to hallucinate. Would the Three Stooges go for this one or is there actually something dangerous to it?
“At the same time, 20 percent noted the hallucinogenic effect of exposure, described as "a spot of light floats before my eyes," and 45 percent complained of dizziness, nausea, signs of disorientation in space.”
RIA Novosti reports this week on the installation and testing of the 5P-42 Filin (Eagle Owl) on the "Admiral of the Fleet of the Soviet Union Gorshkov" and "Admiral of the fleet of Kasaton" frigates – warships patrolling the Arctic Ocean that are in a class higher than destroyers. The 5P-42 Filin was created by Ruselectronics to incapacitate enemy sailors without killing them or damaging their ship by using bright light instead of artillery or explosives. The osciliating strobe-type lights operate at a low frequency that excites the optic nerve, causing temporary blindness, hallucinations, nausea and other side effects that eliminate the enemy’s ability to aim and fire back.
What about the sailors wearing night vision glasses or working somewhere other than on deck or at a window?
“The company clarified that radiation in the visible and part of the infrared spectrum in combination with high-frequency brightness modulation can effectively suppress night vision devices, infrared laser rangefinders, anti-tank guided missile guidance systems at distances of up to five thousand meters.”
So, Eagle Owl also messes with any weapon using a laser guidance system, regardless of where the operator is actually located. RIA Novosti reveals that the 5P-42 Filin is being installed on two additional frigates currently in dry dock. The announcement comes just days after Russia joined the U.S. in pulling out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty.
Should we be worried? Actually, this technology has been available for years for both personal and military use. The Eagle Owl may be taking it to a new level of power, especially with the reports of hallucinations which could cause the blinded enemy to also make poor decisions. ("Dude, forget fighting. Let’s go down below and listen to some Hendrix." OK, maybe that's a GOOD decision.)
Is the 5P-42 Filin a good second choice behind cream pies for movie duels? If Hamilton had made this selection, he wouldn’t have thrown away his shot. History might have been different ... but the play would have had more psychedelic music and the ending would have stunk.