Electronic Weapons: The Dazzler Will Do It

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August 31, 2020: The two new Russian Gorshkov class frigates are the first Russian warships to be equipped with the 5P-42 Filin dazzler. This is a high-powered narrow beam strobe light designed to disorient enemy sailors as well as some electronic devices like laser range finders, night-vision goggles and some ATGMs (anti-tank guided missiles). Max range of Filin is 700 meters but effective range is usually about 500 meters. Each Goshkov is equipped with two Filin, one on each side of the ship. This provides protection against terrorists or any small boats containing hostile personnel. Filin was tested on Russian volunteers armed with rifles and all reported difficulty aiming their weapons once exposed to the Filin strobe for a few seconds. Half the volunteers were also dizzy, nauseous or, in the case of 20 percent of the volunteers, experiencing hallucinations. It took as little as a few minutes for the effect to wear off once the volunteer was no longer exposed to Filin. In the worst cases it took over half an hour to recover. These results were considered adequate. Testing Filin against electronic equipment was more straight forward. Once exposed to Filin the equipment either worked or, in nearly all cases, it did not.

High-intensity dazzler search lights were first used during World War II to disorient bomber pilots attacking civilian or military targets. Pilots learned to avoid these search lights or close their eyes momentarily if avoidance was not possible. Since the 1940s the dazzler concept has been used on more compact and focused search lights as well as laser light devices.

Filin was introduced for army and navy use in 2018. Filin is also available to police organizations. The first Gorshkov entered service in 2018 and the second in 2020. At least ten more of these ships are being built or on order.

The 5,400-ton Gorshkov's are armed with a 130mm gun, two Kashtan autocannon systems for missile defense and 8 Yakhont 3M55 or PJ-10 BrahMos anti-ship missiles. Both are three ton supersonic missiles, with the BrahMos being an advanced version of Yakhont developed in cooperation with India. There is also a launcher for 24 Uragan 1 (SA-N-12) anti-aircraft missiles (30 kilometers range, 70 kg/154 pound warhead), four 533mm (21 inch) torpedo tubes, four RPK-9 (SS-N-29) anti-submarine rockets and a helicopter. Gorshkovs require a crew of 210 sailors and will have the latest electronics the Russians have available for anti-air and anti-submarine work. These ships cost about $400 million each and are capable of doing most of what the older, larger 7,900-ton Sovremenny class destroyers did. This includes visiting distant shores where the locals may be armed, dangerous and moving around in speedboats. For that sort of thing the Dazzler will do it.

 


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