A new laser technology being developed at theUniversity of Michigan and Omni Sciences, Inc. will protect helicoptersin combat from enemy missiles.
"Our lasers give off a signal that's like throwing sand in the eyes of the missile," said Mohammed Islam.
These sturdy and portable "mid-infrared supercontinuum lasers" arebeing made using economical and off-the-shelf telecommunications fibreoptics and could blind heat-seeking weapons from a distance of 1.8miles away.
The robust, simple design can withstand shaky helicopter flight andtheir mid-infrared supercontinuum mode can effectively jam missilesensors.
They also give off a focused beam packed with light from a much broaderrange of wavelengths. And they are the first to operate in longerinfrared wavelengths that humans can't see, but can feel as heat.Heat-seeking missiles are designed to home in on the infrared radiationthat the helicopter engine emits.
Because this new laser emits such a broad spectrum of infrared light,it can effectively mimic the engine's electromagnetic signature andconfuse any incoming weapons, Islam said.
"We've used good, old-fashioned stuff from your telephone network tobuild a laser that has no moving parts," therefore being especiallywell suited for helicopters, Islam said