Improved infrared beacon

Small, ruggedized beacon with extended operating life


A U.S. Marine Joint Terminal Attack Controller sets up an infrared strobe light on the runway at Bost Airfield, Afghanistan, Aug 10, 2017. (Sgt. Justin Updegraff/Marine Corps)

Infrared illumination beacons emit a covert signal that is visible at long ranges by night vision equipment. These beacons are used for a variety of purposes including identification of landing zones, roadways, obstructions, aircraft, vehicles, and  personnel.

However, beacons experience problems with respect to power management, and use large batteries in order to achieve an effective lifespan. This makes them heavy and harder to deploy in the field. Certain models are powered by smaller batteries which compromise the beam strength and limit usefulness.

Navy researchers have developed a ruggedized, waterproof, illumination beacon designed for field deployment with improved power management. The power management system includes a boost/buck converter to produce an output voltage magnitudes larger than an input voltage. The beacon emits a signal that is visible at long ranges and can operate over an extended period of time.

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