Procurement: Green Light Special


March 5, 2009: Canada has bought 750 “Visual Warning Technology (VWT) systems, for about $7,500 each. These are eye safe (they won't blind you permanently) green laser pointers mounted in a weather proof, articulated enclosure, that enables the troops to operate the laser remotely, to flash the laser light at oncoming drivers, to get them to stop at checkpoints, or other locations.

U.S. troops first discovered, four years ago, that the green laser pointer could be used to force oncoming drivers to halt. These commercial pointers, used at briefings and such, have a range of about two kilometers, and cost about $70. Eventually, the U.S. Army bought them in bulk and distributed them to troops manning checkpoints or base entrances.

Unlike urban Iraq, where information gets around quickly, the Canadians in Afghanistan are also launching a publicity campaign there to let people, especially those in rural areas where the troops operate, know about the green lasers. Even if people don't get the message, they will know enough to hit the brakes if they get an eye full of green laser.



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