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Countering Laser Guided SAMs

Written by on Thursday, March 14th, 2013

The enemy is always evolving and improvising, and with the development of Laser Guided Surface-to-Air-Missiles (SAMs) the enemy now has the capability to guide missiles by using laser energy directed at aircraft. Countering Laser Guided SAMs has proven to be difficult but one German company claims to have figured out how to overcome this threat.

Lasers have been used for years but with developing weapon programs continually looking for new and innovative ways to market their systems, it was just a matter of time before lasers were used to guide weapons. As with most weapon systems, a SAM must be guided to its target via some sort of source otherwise it’s considered a ballistic rocket. While larger SAMs are typically guided by radars that require support equipment to detect a target, track a target and guide to a target, shorter range SAMs rely upon other means to track to a target. Infrared guided short range SAMs have been largely proliferated but with automatic flare systems being developed to counter the infrared seekers, SAM developers have evolved to laser guided SAMs. Automatic flare systems on large aircraft are vulnerable to the laser guided SAMs because the lasers are not affected by the flares and this has prompted aircraft survivability companies to pursue order cialis 5 mg solutions to the laser guided SAM threat.

One such concept involves detecting the laser energy and its source and delivering a high intensity beam of light to the operator, keeping his eyes, and consequently the laser, off the aircraft so the weapon will not hit the target. Oliver Rudow, product manager at Cassidian in Germany noted, “These are not fire-and-forget weapons. They must always have a man in the loop, and that is the weakness we wanted to exploit.” Cassidian is development on a system that can be installed on large aircraft that will detect, locate and counter the operator by directing a high intensity light into his eyes to momentarily blind and cause the laser to lose track of the aircraft and cause the SAM to miss the target. The concept was proven out in early demonstration tests but follow-on tests will surely tell if this concept works.


With an ever-evolving threat, aircraft avionics and survivability equipment must stay one step ahead and the Cassidian counter to the laser guided SAM threat is one example of such an effort. Keeping at the forefront of enemy developments is, to put it lightly, difficult but is essential if the U.S. is to keep at the leading edge of technology in military equipment.


If you want advice about the world of military aviation, there’s no better people to turn to than men and women who have sat in the cockpit and flown some of the world’s most advanced aircraft. With over 50 current and ex-warfighters on call, Strike Fighter Consulting Inc. can give you access to up-to-date, first-hand technical and tactical expertise.

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