back to article Vomit cannon to protect vessels from pirates, paparazzi

Seagoing Scottish mercenaries/security operatives say they have deployed a radical laser puke-ray weapon aboard shipping transiting the pirate-plagued Gulf of Aden. The device may also be used on paparazzi by reclusive superyacht owners. The Scotsman reports that ProForm Marine, a company run by ex-Royal Marine commandos and …


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  1. Anonymous Coward


    Why not just shoot them with a proper bullet?

    we don't need pirates or papperazi leechers.

  2. GrahamT

    How could you miss...

    The Puke Nuke

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: How could you miss...

      Or "The Chunder-buss"?

      1. ravenviz Silver badge

        Re: How could you miss...

        or YAK-47?

  3. Merlin

    Will it work?

    Has anyone tried this device against people wearing sunglasses?

    1. Lionel Baden

      More Importantly

      Does it work on Eye patch Toting pirates !!!

      Also what if you have drank copious amounts of rum would one notice !!

  4. Anonymous Coward


    I love the endless variety of funny names for dodgy war-tech from Lewis. He must have a well-thumbed thesaurus on his desk.

  5. S Larti

    I think we need...

    ...a statement from company chairman Hugh E Ralph

  6. Henny

    light based weapon?

    why can I see sales of Oakley sunglasses going up in a large way to the pirate population of that area? Surely just wearing some decent dark glasses would pretty much eliminate any effects (if not minimise them to a level of it just being slightly annoying) of any laser based non-burning weapon?

  7. N2

    Fine but

    Just what is wrong with a .50 cal, 20mm cannon or something a little larger?

    Im sure that were these areas adequately patrolled by our Navy then there wouldnt be a problem.

    oops, silly me, I forgot about defence cuts & the fact that pirates may take legal action for any distress caused whilst conducting their daily business.

    1. lglethal Silver badge

      Yeah sounds good...

      Ive often thought of using a .50 cal on the Papparazzi too... If we take out enough of them, then maybe the tabloids would have to shut down!

      Yes, I'm a dreamer...

    2. Paul 4
      Thumb Down

      Kind of difficult to tell

      if someone is a pirate some times, and 20mm cannon shots arn't that easy too take back.

      Also, we would need one hell of a defense budget to sent an RN ship to protect every ship at risk. Hell, we coulden't do it in world war two.

  8. Anonymous Coward


    cos pirates never wear sunglasses!!!! How about just shooting them!

  9. Rob Crawford

    Hmmm I wonder

    if there the super yacht owners will be getting hit with some form of assault charge.

    While not a fan of the press if they are in a public place it seems unfair that the super rich can take action and a normal person would be in deep shit for taking any action.

    As for a puke ray vs RPG I would still think the RPG has the advantage

    1. SynnerCal

      Re: RPG v's barf ray

      RC said "As for a puke ray vs RPG I would still think the RPG has the advantage".

      Not sure about that - depends on how effective the bart ray was against it's target ... is it just 'inconvenient' or really debilitating? I just did a quick search and the Dazer (referred to in Lewis' piece) has a claim max range of 2400m whereas the old RPG7 is only good for 300-500m.

      If ProForm Marine are reusing US non-lethals, then I'd be tempted to wait for puke ray v2 which, (I assume), will couple a puke dazzler with one of those ultrasonic(?) bowel looseners. I would have thought that a zap with those two would go a long way to convince a budding Blackbeard to give up.

      Although personally, I'd agree with others here, in that a couple of 50 cals is a heck of a better deterrent. Either that, or bring back execution as the punishment for piracy. I've got no problem with either approach.

  10. Anonymous Coward

    buy them?

    You can buy something similar in the US? Its one thing people pointing lasers at airplanes but puke rays?

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    or rather not. First I thought the pool of former Royal Marines was used to produce the vomit for all those puke cannons.

    Instead of head-mounted lasers they could train sharks to vomit at pirates, couldn't they?

  12. Phil the Geek


    I read the headline, got the wrong end of the stick, and hoped the cannon would discharge a vomit projectile at the assorted downrange scumbags. Oh well. I'm still living in hope for technicolour munitions.

    1. Paul RND*1000

      Me too

      That's what I was imagining too, something that truly redefines the meaning of "projectile vomit".

    2. heyrick Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Me too!

      And as technically interesting as these things may be, I think a gushing torrent of Hork flying through the air at said pirate would probably be a hell of a lot more effective.

      [and if aimed at paparraz goons, well, at least we'll have the photos to prove it...]

      1. ravenviz Silver badge

        Me three

        Ah, memories of alt.stupidity!

  13. TeeCee Gold badge

    I think I understand.

    "the only Laser based threat deterrent system designed specifically for the needs of the commercial sector".

    Or, in other words, exactly the same thing but with the military budget no-questions-asked humungo-markup omitted from the price tag.

  14. nichomach


    Bravo, Lewis, well done - if it were deployed against marauding paps by Bruce Willis' ex, would that make it a "chunder-Demi-culverin"?

    1. sandman

      On the same theme

      On the Tudor gun theme, you could also produce a "bastard culverin" to fire at people you really didn't like.

  15. Andy ORourke

    Vomit Cannon

    Here was me imagining large ships carrying stores of puke around with them to shoot at oncoming Pirates.

    Maybe that could be the UK's next big industry? vomit exports, encourage binge drinking and set up "puke Points" in every town / city centre to keep copious supplies of vomit ready for use

    1. Lionel Baden


      just ewwwwww !!!!!

      need feel unwell icon

  16. Seanmon

    May I humbly suggest...


  17. Colin Mountford

    Perfect solution

    Can't they just double up on the eyepatches?

    Yes... ok.. I'm going

  18. Jolyon

    Slightly late

    So I'm a tardytard but couldn't these be mounted on sharks to extend the range beyond 4km?

  19. Ben Rosenthal

    "Puke Nuke"

    Vom Bomb?


    Rainbow yawn actuator

  20. Andy 97


    What these ships really need is a proper 'watch' to look out for these marauders.


    s Ross Kemp explains to us [Ross Kemp on Pirates $ky 1], the boats they use are tiny and they attack at the rear of the larger vessel over powering the crew once they have climbed aboard.

    Maybe the days of a convoy are soon to return?

    Vomit cannon? - you're having a giraffe.

  21. Stone Fox

    slightly long winded, but....

    "Puke Inducing Ship to Ship Ordnance Foreship Firing"

    which rather nicely spells;


    A suitable response for paparazzi I feel.

  22. 0laf

    Guns, guns guns

    If a super tanker or bulk carrier is worth $100M+ surely they could invest in a couple of vulcan cannons. Plenty of space on the ship for them.


    Badly equipped pirate Vs 50lbs of hot fast lead = chum

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Not a good idea...

      I can't see most of OPEC wanting a US tanker rocking up to the port locked and loaded.

  23. Desk Jockey


    Makes me laugh that. Sounds like a good way to rip off rich people with pointless gadgets. Good luck trying to aim a presumably un-stabilised laser at a moving target on a heaving ship! I would guess the laser would need to be kept consistently on target for a period of time to achieve the requred effect too?

    I read about an interview with a ship's captain who successfully repelled pirates by weaving his ship from side to side while the crew and passengers threw larges chunks of wood overboard in front of the pirate speed boats forcing them to dodge or get their boats/propellors messed up. RPGs and machine guns are no good for actually stopping or sinking a ship while a nice block of wood really does ruin the pirates' day.

    1. ravenviz Silver badge

      Re: ship's captain, weaving ship

      I heard an interview* with the very same captain on BBC Radio 4's Taking a Stand on Tuesday, you can listen to it here (until it's not on iPlayer any more):

      *it really is very good

  24. Eponymous Cowherd

    Q Ships

    Merchantmen crewed by Navy personnel and Marines armed with the latest in shoulder-launched weaponry and small-arms. Rotate the crews between different ships so the pirates won't know which ones are armed.

    Pirates attack, down goes the merchant flag, up goes the Navy ensign, kaboom, splat, no more pirates.

    Pirates are in the piracy trade because its (currently) easy money with minimal risk. If there was a somewhat higher chance that they won't return from a raid they may decide a career change is in order.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And if the pirates capture this technology?

    They will be the ones disabling their targets and have more bodies to ransom.

    And if the paps get it, they might induce more nip slips in their victims as they flail around.

  26. ClydeOscope

    Guess i should have a go


    My first post and it is (s) peurile

  27. Anonymous Coward

    This is nothing new

    I used to know a farmer in Blighty that would fire up his muck spreader if a bunch of itinerant caravan dwellers parked up in his fields. Organic weaponry with an endless supply of ammo. Cow shit has a very short half-life too.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      @Mahatma Coat

      Cow patties are nothing in comparison to pig poopies. I don't think anything else smells that bad that you could put out.

      1. 0laf

        cat poo wins

        Nothing beats cat poo.

        If cow poo is TNT, cat poo is plutonium. Less of it but a much bigger bang

      2. Anonymous Coward

        @ AC & Olaf

        I'm sure cat and pig poo smell far worse. However, they tend to be in short supply on a dairy farm :)

        btw, fox poo is even more evil than both of the above.

  28. Gordon is not a Moron

    If they mounted this of a helicopter..

    would it be a 'Huey Huey' ?

  29. Matt 130

    Easily foiled

    Meanwhile in Somalia, the pirates are attaching big mirrors to the front of their boats - Avast! Ye sea sick landlubbers and feel the force of your own chundergun!

  30. Anonymous Coward

    I seem to remember

    the US have been developing a microwave tank too - much like the ones in Comand & Conquer Generals. Have one of each weapon and you can choose whether to make them hurl or bake them in case you fancy BBQ pirate as a late evening snack.

  31. TeeCee Gold badge

    Firing drill.

    "Weapons officer?"


    "Sick 'em."

    The oilskin and sou'wester please. I'm not taking any chances.

  32. SouthernWaylander
    Jobs Horns

    Reflection can be a dangerous thing?

    Picture of a cartoon character reflecting a lazer beam with a small mirror comes to mind... seeing that it is a lightray/beam of light, can't it be reflected 4km back to the source with the use of a simple mirror?

    1. the Jim bloke

      not a simple mirror

      but a survey reflector prism is designed to reflect a laser beam back to its origin within about 30 degrees of its facing. Cheap one would cost maybe $60 ? depending on currency and availability in whichever region.

      Less used these days as GPS becomes more prevalent in the surveying world, but still pretty common.

      By the time the signal has traveled a couple of kilometres each way it wouldn't have a lot of strength left, especially in a sea level environment..... but Im sure there would be enough energy for some kind of laser painted targeting missile to follow "evil grin"

  33. Ru

    Reflection is pretty pointless.

    Here's an experiment. Have someone point their card headlights on full beam at you at nighttime, somewhere reasonably dark. You probably won't be able to see very much.

    Now, take a small mirror, and reflect the light back at them. It wil. be annoying, but hardly blinding

    Sure, a suitably big parabolic might be able to collect, reflect and focus enough of the beam to distress people on the boat, but:

    - That's a big, fragile thing to carry on a speedboat

    - That's a non-trivial and non-cheap bit of optics to manufacture

    - That's a tricky thing to aim and focus from a little boat in open water.

    - Good luck aiming at something that is dazzling you with a vomit ray

    And that's even before you consider it has a fixed focal length... too close or too far away and it won't be much good...

    So, no. You can't defend yourself this way.

  34. Robert Hill

    I don't buy it...

    I don't think these things are for making people "sick". You're shooting a beam 4km in daylight - pretty energetic beam. Anything too much closer, it's gonna start burning retinas...

    But, you see, it's MARKETED as a "safe weapon" there is limited liability. The fact that the pirates/paps were temporarily or permanently blinded is a function of their persistence when faced with a non-lethal weapon - in short, it's their fault!

    And I bet that in a pinch, any scanning or pulsing technology on that gun can be overridden to produce a really, really powerful beam - not one that will burn, but one that will blind. And it doesn't take much - I lost my red eyesight in one eye from a couple of fast exposures to a weak Class III HeNe laser decades ago when building a laser show (damned mirror slipped its mounts when I was testing it and had the box open).

    I think that may actually be a much better deterent to piracy than any lethal weapon - the thought of becoming blind, in a society (Somalia, etc.) that has no provisions for the blind....

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Arbroath smokies?

    As the title :-)

  36. the Jim bloke

    not all that silly really

    Pirates need to get close to board a vessel, so a "less-lethal" weapon that can be used to warn them off at a distance, and melt their eyeballs if they persist, is a reasonable option.

    As for Paparazzi, they may be hanging further back, but they would be looking at the vessel through telephoto lenses etc. I can see (heh) laser camera/binocular blasters becoming popular accessories wherever celebrities actually do want to discourage paparatzis -as opposed to the ones who delibrately seek the attention.

    And as I mentioned in another post, if the laser itself doesnt scare them away, follow up with a laser guided missile.

  37. AlistairJ

    Sickest dude out there

    Sounds a lot like those fake "bomb detectors" they are selling so many of in Iraqistan. Would it be effective against jetski-jihadists?

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