The Army's Now Using Freakin' Lasers to Hunt Down Enemy Snipers

By Chris Mills on at

You can run, but you sure as hell can't hide -- at least not from British troops in Afghanistan. The Ministry of Defence has just confirmed it's bought a job-lot of counter-sniper detection systems that use lasers to find enemy snipers. AWESOME.

One of the biggest problems our troops in Afghanistan face is locating the enemy. Anyone who's watched the epic sniper battle in The Hurt Locker (and if you haven't, you have no soul) can quickly grasp the basic problems with trying to play hide-and-seek from 900m away. Now imagine doing the same thing, but in verdant forests (a.k.a. Afghanistan's Green Zone) rather than desert, and you see the issue.

The MoD's stepped up to try and help this problem with a bit of new-fangled technology -- a detector that shines lasers in the likely direction of enemy threat, and then uses light refracted back off sniper scopes and binoculars to locate the enemy. It's made by a French company, Cilas, and while it's been kicking around for a few years now (the U.S. Marines trialled it back in 2009).

There are a few potential flaws -- the system is a bit unwieldy, and best used from a vehicle, and it's also possible to cover up scopes until the last minute, which would defeat the detector. There's also the fact that not everyone uses optical scopes -- as has been pointed out, some people prefer to plump for old-fashioned iron sights (the fools).

Whatever. Even if all this does is stop the Taliban from using optical sniper scopes, it's totally worth the 5 mil the MoD has spent on buying the system. Oh, and it allows us to brag to the rest of the world that we have sniper-seeking lasers, and that'll win any military top trumps competition. [Think Defence]

Image credit: Defence Image Database