In early February 2019, RIA Novosti reported that Ruselectronics is working on the 5P42 Filin. The new weapon system that is to be mounted on Russian Navy warships. The objective of the system is to “blind” homing missiles.
RIA Novosti reports that Ruselectronics' 5P42 Filin visual-optical interference stations have been placed on the Admiral Gorshkov and Kasatonov Project 22350 frigates. The 5P42 is designed to counter laser range finders, NVGs, and ATGM guidance systems.https://t.co/4lA16aiScd pic.twitter.com/xBcKxqdyvC
— Rob Lee (@RALee85) February 3, 2019
RIA, in February reported that:
“Volunteers who experienced the impact of “Filin” noted the impossibility of conducting aimed fire from small arms on concealed targets when placed at a distance of two kilometers from the shooters’ positions due to the lack of visibility of the target. At the same time, every fifth volunteer felt the hallucinogenic effect, and about half of the testers noted signs of disorientation in space, as well as nausea and dizziness.”
The 5P42 is intended to make Russian ships invulnerable to anti-ship missiles, aircraft and other means of destruction.
Western media at the time of the revelation of the Filin focused on another one of its features: it may potentially cause nausea, vomiting and even hallucinations in enemy personnel.
The Filin was deployed on the Russian naval frigates Admiral Gorshkov and Admiral Kasatonov, according to a news release from Ruselectornics.
In World War II times, the British and US armies built several battalions of top-secret tanks known as CDL—or Canal Defence Light tanks. CDLs were older, aging tanks fitted with searchlights that flickered their light beams up to six times a second. This pulse rate induced “dizziness, loss of balance, and the infamous nausea” in exercises in which CDL tanks supported an attack and made it difficult to target a vehicle equipped with the lights.
Also, according to VPK, the idea of the system for Russia is not really new and was born in USSR times. Work on equipping Russian warships with laser systems has been on-going since the 1970s.
In the Soviet Union, a large number of different types of combat laser systems were developed. In particular, we are talking about the whole family of special products for the Ground Forces. For example, you can give a unique complex 1K17 “Compression”. The laser was mounted on the basis of the Msta-S self-propelled howitzer.
An important difference between land complexes and sea complexes was their ideology. The “ground” created a system of interference and glare of optical-electronic systems. “Sailors” solved a more global problem. Lasers had to physically affect the aircraft or cruise missiles and disable them.
Two projects were being worked on: the Aquilon and Aydar, but in the late 1980s, it became clear that shipborne laser weapons did not meet the expectations of the military.
The 5P42 Filin isn’t exactly what experts speculate it would be. In theory, it would create problems for UAVs. It can’t “destroy” the imaging when the UAV approaches the Filin, but it can impede its communication system.
It has the potential of being a very useful non-lethal weapon. It is not a “super weapon” as presented by media.
According to VPK, it is not applicable to combat modern aviation weapons and anti-ship missiles. In combat, ineffective against unmanned aerial vehicles. The 5P42 has a rather narrow tactical niche – fighting against saboteurs and pirates.