Powerful Flashlight Used as Nonlethal Weapon

By Yasmin Tadjdeh
The ALPHA-1 searchlight — which functions as an extremely powerful flashlight — can shine up to 1.6 miles and be used in a variety of missions as a nonlethal weapon, its European distributor said. 

The system is made by Japan Cell Ltd. and is sold in Europe through a partnership with PROCentrum, a Dutch company.

Eric Sanders, CEO of PROCentrum, said the system could be used in border and crowd control missions by SWAT teams and by militaries for a variety of purposes.

“It’s a nonlethal weapon,” he said during an industry conference in London. “If I would enter a building and there’s a person over there watching me I could … put this in his eyes and he would be blind for the next 20 minutes.”

If the ALPHA-1’s light is directed at an adversary’s eyes from 25 meters it would blind them temporarily but leave no permanent damage, he said. “That gives me the edge to go to him and take the person into custody.”

The system has been tested in a variety of environments including desert and maritime, he said. “It’s rugged. It’s shockproof. It’s dustproof. It’s waterproof,” he added.

A laser for precise targeting can be fastened onto the system, which would be beneficial in crowd control situations when picking out specific rioters.

ALPHA-1 would also be useful on a ship to shine a light on moving targets, Sanders said. “When you have a vessel, it has standard lights aboard but … it’s always pointed in one direction and you can’t take it with you — it’s too heavy, it’s too bulky.”

The system, which weighs in at 3.3 pounds, is nimble and can be pointed in any direction, he said. It is powered by lithium-ion batteries, which increases the weight of the system by 1.1 pounds.

ALPHA-1 has been sold to the Dutch ministry of defense, the Japanese ministry of defense and various police departments, he said. Each unit sells for about $9,000, Sanders said.

Topics: Armaments, Science and Engineering Technology

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