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New laser hides aircraft to help it dodge missiles

By Nairita Das

Washington, Sep 17 (ANI): A new infrared laser defense system for aircraft could blind heat-sensitive missiles, hence helping pilots to evade missiles and escape.

The new system, roughly the size of a DVD player, will likely be used in combat operations initially, but could eventually help local law enforcement uncover concealed drugs and explosives.

"We've used good, old-fashioned stuff from your telephone network to build a laser that has no moving parts," Discovery News quoted Mohammed Islam, a scientist at the University of Michigan who developed this new laser-based missile defense system, as saying.

Unlike most lasers, which emit only a single wavelength of light, the new infrared laser emits a multitude of wavelengths-all in the infrared range.

Just as infrared light from the summer sun warms up the Earth, the infrared light from the lasers warms an incoming missile-or more precisely, it warms the heat-sensor the missile uses to track aircraft.

Those sensors hone in on two heat sources- the aircraft's engine and the exhaust.

The infrared lasers mask the signature of those heat sources by making everything look like a heat source.

"It's like throwing sand into the eyes of the missile," said Islam.

If the pilot turns sharply while the missile is blinded, he or she should be able to evade the projectile and escape.

"It's an interesting approach to blind an incoming missile," said Anthony Johnson, a laser scientist at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

Other groups, notably Boeing, are developing airborne laser systems powerful enough to destroy-not distract-incoming missiles.

The device is small enough and durable enough to be mounted on aircraft.

Helicopters will likely be the first aircraft equipped with this laser-defense system, but airplanes will come later, said Islam.

Other than the military, the technology would also benefit law enforcement agencies, as they could also equip their aircraft with infrared lasers to scan huge expanses of land to find drugs or explosives. (ANI)

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