Falklands’ war: UK deployed laser weapon to ‘dazzle’ enemy pilots, say released documents

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Falklands’ war: UK deployed laser weapon to ‘dazzle’ enemy pilots, say released documents

Mensagem por Winston Churchill em Qui Ago 01, 2013 8:16 am

Among the confidential British government reports that the National Archive released on Wednesday was a letter dating from January 1983 that said “never before used” laser weapons had been deployed during the already-concluded war that had been developed quickly and secretly.

The letter to former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was classified as “top secret” and was signed by Britain's then-defence minister, Michael Heseltine.

“We developed and deployed with very great urgency a naval laser weapon, designed to dazzle low-flying Argentine pilots attacking ships, to the Task Force in the South Atlantic. This weapon was not used in action and knowledge of it has been kept to a very restricted level,” wrote the newly-appointed Heseltine to the premier.

Heseltine also referred to the British programs to develop and carry out research on the laser weapons systems known as “Raker” and “Shingle,” that, according to the released documents, were “proceeding at high priority.”

He also said that the Soviet Union could conceivably deploy laser weapons by the mid-1980s although it was not clear whether having such weapons would truly be useful.

In late 1979, British interests were focused on using medium-power lasers against relatively softer targets such as eyes, optic and electro-optic sensors.

The 74-day Falklands War broke out after Argentine troops invaded and occupied the Islands and led to the deaths of 255 British troops and about 650 Argentines and three civilians before Argentina finally surrendered unconditionally.

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"Arm yourselves, and be ye men of valour, and be in readiness for the conflict; for it is better for us to perish in battle than to look upon the outrage of our nation and our altar. As the will of God is in Heaven, even so let it be."

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Winston Churchill

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