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Lasers could protect helicopters from harm
by Staff Writers
Ann Arbor, Mich. (UPI) Sep 3, 2010


disclaimer: image is for illustration purposes only

A new laser technology could protect helicopters in combat from heat-seeking missiles, University of Michigan researchers say.

Using inexpensive, off-the-shelf telecommunications fiber optics, Mohammed Islam, a professor in the UM Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, has developed sturdy and portable "mid-infrared supercontinuum lasers" that could blind heat-seeking weapons from a distance of 1.8 miles, a university release said.

"Battlefield terrain in places like Afghanistan and Iraq can be so rough that our troops have often had to rely on helicopters, and they can be easy targets for enemies with shoulder-launched missiles," Islam says.

"Our lasers give off a signal that's like throwing sand in the eyes of the missile."

The lasers are promising for helicopter protection because their robust, simple design can withstand the vibrations of helicopter flight.

Most lasers emit light of just one wavelength. But supercontinuum lasers give off a focused beam packed with light from a much broader range of wavelengths.

Islam's mid-infrared supercontinuum laser is the first to operate in longer infrared wavelengths that heat-seeking missiles use to home in on the infrared radiation that a helicopter engine emits.

By emitting a broad spectrum of infrared light, it can effectively mimic the engine's electromagnetic signature and confuse any incoming weapons, Islam said.

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New System Developed To Test And Evaluate High-Energy Laser Weapons
Atlanta GA (SPX) Aug 24, 2010
Technologies for using laser energy to destroy threats at a distance have been in development for many years. Today, these technologies known as directed energy weapons are maturing to the point of becoming deployable. High-energy lasers, one type of directed energy weapon, can be mounted on aircraft to deliver a large amount of energy to a far-away target at the speed of light, resulting ... read more


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