Marines will soon have a Star Trek phaser-like new green laser that can reach out and “warn or visually suppress” opponents without firing a round.
The Ocular Interrupter System is essentially a green light with a combined laser range finder that gauges shooter-to-target distance then adjusts the light to deter, but not blind, personnel, said Ryan Smith, team leader for force protection programs at Marine Corps Systems Command.
It can be mounted on a the M16/M4 rail system or used separately with a pistol grip, Smith said.
The Glare Recoil nonlethal Hail and Warning device was developed as a commercial off-the-shelf product by B.E. Meyers & Co., Inc., based in Redmond, Washington. It is a $49 million contract, according to the company’s website.
Marine requirements wanted a system to operate up to 500 meters. Company spokeswoman Grace Strong said in an email that the gear, “provides immediate and recognizable visual warning quite a bit farther than the stated 500 meters. It is, in actuality, effective to (more than) 25 kilometers.”
Marines expect 144 units to be delivered in the coming months and 1,848 units fielded by early 2019, officials said.
Marines on one Marine Expeditionary Unit per Marine Expeditionary Force and two reserve Law Enforcement Battalions will be the first to receive the new gear, officials said.
The system replaces two separate systems, the “MiniGreen” Glare Mout 532P-M and the LA-9/P Green Beam Dazzling Laser, devices in use for more than seven years, Smith said.
The new device can automatically gauge the needed amount of light in either spot or flood mode to deter opponents but not blind them.
The gear is designed to give Marines options when the mission is to “minimize civilian casualties and limit collateral damage,” according to the command’s website.
Todd South has written about crime, courts, government and the military for multiple publications since 2004 and was named a 2014 Pulitzer finalist for a co-written project on witness intimidation. Todd is a Marine veteran of the Iraq War.