Field data of past attempts at piracy tell us that the pirates will often break off the attack if they are discovered early in the process. This means that the first line of defence for WatchStander is to let the attackers know that they have lost the element of surprise.
When WatchStander identifies a hostile target vessel:
The pirates may well choose to reappraise their options at this point. They will be more likely to disengage their attack as the likelihood of its success diminishes.
However, if the attack persists, WatchStander will automatically increase the intensity of its response as the attackers close in. For example, the spotlight will begin a disruptive strobing that makes it more difficult for the attackers to look at their prey. An optional Lasersec non-lethal laser dazzler can be invoked. Other optional devices can be invoked if the attackers succeed in getting even closer (say within 400 metres). These involve physical measures, such as non-lethal projectiles that rain pepper spray onto the attacker.
WatchStander will continue to automatically deliver its responses, even if the Master and crew move to a safe location such as a reinforced ‘citadel,’ or hand off the engagement to an armed security team.
If a ship’s officer determines that a WatchStander-targeted vessel poses no threat, he can manually override WatchStander and order it to stand down. Alternatively, the bridge can order WatchStander to convert any vessel being tracked by the system into an active threat, thereby directing WatchStander to engage the suspicious vessel.
If there are more attacking vessels than there are countermeasure units, then WatchStander uses its Threat Confidence values (a natural part of the automated threat classification process) to select the attacker of most concern to target with WatchStander’s responses.