Air Force

Sensor activator laser cannon

A low-cost, agile means to support the development, testing, and periodic validation of ground and airborne laser sensors

Photonics Military Technology

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Several classes of laser detection, characterization, and warning receivers have been developed for employment on civilian and military aircraft. Traditionally, these sensors undergo extensive laboratory and ground characterization and testing, but very little validation and direct-illumination during actual flight.

Existing means of in-flight characterization generally rely upon non-purpose-built, expensive, and cumbersome aircraft trackers with custom integrated and calibrated laser sources and telescopes–all requiring extensive teams of specialized engineers and technicians to operate.

These test devices are in great demand and are rarely accessible to support small-scale and quick-reaction airborne laser sensor stimulation for development and test purposes. Moreover, the cost limits their use for small-scale development and test activities.

Air Force researchers have addressed the above with a low-cost, agile means to support the development, testing, and periodic validation of ground and airborne laser sensors. The device can also be used in environments where it may be advantageous to stimulate airborne laser sensors during flight operations. The laser sensor stimulator can illuminate sensors with multiple co-aligned lasers in a field environment through its ability to track aircraft and receive tracking data pertaining to aircraft and items of interest to be tracked.I

t monitors the direction (azimuth and elevation) in which laser energy is propagated with respect to a fixed frame of reference and provides the exact spatial location of an operator. The inexpensive device tracks all three components of aircraft position, laser sensor pointing direction, and laser sensor stimulator position in real-time. The laser sensor stimulator records operational data concerning its activities and activities of aircraft and other items of interest it tracks and synchronizes this data to a common time code so the effectiveness of laser sensors, laser warning devices, and other devices that are stimulated by the laser sensor stimulator can be assessed.

This U.S. patent is related to U.S. Patent 10,271,402, which protects the method of calibrating the device.

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