BAE Systems develops new technology to block laser attacks

20 November 2017 (Last Updated November 20th, 2017 11:53)

BAE Systems has developed a new system that can protect pilots and flight crew from hostile laser attacks.

BAE Systems has developed a new system that can protect pilots and flight crew from hostile laser attacks.

The new lightweight, flexible solution uses a novel film to block dangerous laser light that could otherwise affect pilots’ vision during flight.

The company noted that the system prevents laser transmission, while allowing a high level of natural light to pass through the canopy with minimal colour distortion.

BAE has validated the system’s ability to block a wide variety of laser wavelengths during operational trials.

"The new lightweight, flexible solution uses a novel film to block dangerous laser light that could otherwise affect pilots’ vision during flight."

BAE Systems executive scientist Dr Leslie Laycock said: “We have been able to achieve a visible light transmission in excess of 70%.

“Our system allows the majority of the light through, providing protection without the need for heavily tinted industrial goggles.

“This allows pilots to more effectively see instruments and their surroundings, whilst simultaneously blocking the dangerous laser light.”

Lasers are increasingly being used to attack pilots and air crews during take-off and landing, which can cause distraction and obscure instruments and dials.

The attacks also have a high probability of causing short-lived ‘flash’ blindness and even permanent eye damage.

BAE’s new technology is expected to be effective against proliferated lasers, whose wavelength may change in future.

The system’s film can be upgraded and selectively tuned to combat new laser threats.

The next phase of development is slated to include experimentation and commercialisation within the public sector.