Cairo protesters zap military helicopter with lasers

Agence France-Presse posted this amazing photo (just a thumbnail shown here, click through for the full image) of protesters in Cairo zapping a military helicopter with lasers of varying power and color. As one of my tweeps said, behold the future of drone countermeasures. #PHOTO: Egyptian protestors direct laser lights on a military helicopter flying… READ THE REST

Maybe a stupid question, but what does this do practically to help the protestors?

It forces the crew to keep their heads down, or put up an IFR hood. Helicopters aren’t very effective under IFR conditions.

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Interesting to note that the helicopter was also dropping Egyptian flags as propaganda patriotism.

I suspect the tactic will also prevent the chopper from photographing the crowd for later identification.

At the risk of being pedantic, I’d like to point out that this is pretty ineffective as a drone countermeasure - unless a drone is stationary / loitering and you have really good aim, the most you can do with a small laser is briefly blind the drone’s cameras.

Lasers are much more effective against a piloted aircraft, assuming you don’t care about the (slim but still possible) chance of harming the pilot and craft.

If you are up against a drone and are going to do something illegal already, you might as well target it with something more solid than a beam of light.

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That said, something that COULD track a drone and blind it might be doable. Might sell pretty well stateside, too…

I’m pretty sure anybody trying that in the UK would risk a prison sentence.

If military or police shined lasers that powerful at civilians, the headline would probably mention the potential eye damage. Just saying.

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Pretty sure that there will be future drones that will have countermeasures to these drone countermeasures. With lasers being all shiny and straight, the ability to automatically locate the source and “gently” telling them to stop it is just another contract away. Much more cost effective than the old labour intensive way

Are they zapping it with lasers to fight it?

Or just to make it look pretty?

I was under the impression that at the moment the Egyptian military has the anti-Morsi protesters’ backs.


The difference is that civilians are by definition non-combattants just trying to get their voices heard, using civilian lasers to light up an aircraft they don’t like (with blinding the pilots being a rare but possible side effect). The military deploying weaponized blinding lasers is a deliberate act of violence against an unarmed population, none of whom signed up for the risks of being in the police or military. Protest != declaration of war, and doesn’t turn civilians into soldiers.


I’m not clear on the context here. I’ll preface this by proclaiming general ignorance, but. . .

The military seems to be siding with the protestors.
The article that AwesomeRobot linked to seems to indicate that the flags were taken as a sign of support for the protestors.
The military’s 48 hour deadline seems pretty bad for Morsi.

So, I am honestly not so sure that those lasers are intended as countermeasures. Do we have any reason to believe that would be the case? The flag dropping and laser pointing appear to be happening between groups who still look pretty friendly with each other.

That’s alright. Just set it on fire with a floating Chinese lantern.

More (terrific) photos here:
In Focus: Millions March in Egyptian Protests

Dangerous devices, used stupidly by civilians are not in any way different from the same devices used by non-civilians. “weaponized blinding lasers” aren’t the issue, (assuming anyone were silly enough to deploy such a thing), but those “civilian” lasers in the photograph are certainly capable of doing organic damage, and the politics of the people using them doesn’t exempt them from the responsibility for their stupid, dangerous actions.


It’s a rebellion. If this is the worst violence that they use, I’d say that they’re being rather civilized about it.


Brilliant (heh, heh)…until the pilot loses control and the helicopter lands on the crowd.

The use of blinding lasers is a violation of the Geneva Conventions.


Where do they all shit?