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  • Writer's pictureMuhammed Said Bilal Dolar

Step by step Laser Beam Riding

Firstly what is laser?

Basically, a laser is a light source that is more powerful than usual light sources, allowing it to transfer energy wirelessly (e.g., wireless energy transfer, laser weapons, etc.). Usually, laser diodes are combined with lenses to concentrate the beam, resulting in a more powerful, pointy, and controllable source of light.

History of laser

The first visible wavelength laser diode was demonstrated by Nick Holonyak, Jr. in 1962. He used gallium arsenide-phosphide alloy for the laser. Different types of alloys affect the wavelength (the picture demonstrates the relationship between the alloy and wavelength).

How IR Homing technology affected IR guidance

The first IR homing missile was the American AIM-4 Falcon, introduced in 1949. When an IR homing missile detects an IR source, it tracks it. The IR homing missile targets the heat source, which, on the other hand, is an IR source. Moreover, you can actually control it with Infrared sources. The thing that connects IR homing to Laser beam riding is IR point tracking. So, we can understand that IR homing and laser beam riding usually use IR wavelengths (from 850nm to 1064nm). After a few projects, engineers had a solution for cable-controlled (fiber optic cable) ATGMs: Laser beam riding! For creating the beam and aiming it at the target, engineers designed laser designators.

Laser Designators

This device includes an IR laser, rangefinder, and optic sight for aiming and selecting targets. The configuration may change depending on the model and purpose of the designator. There are three types of laser designators: land-based, modular targeting pod, and onboard-based aircraft laser designators.

The picture demonstrates Soviet Era LPR-1 land based laser designator.

The picture shows photo of Flir StormCaster light weight laser designator.

The picture shows Thales' target pod which works like laser designator. This type of laser designators used by planes that doen't have laser designators: usually fighter planes.

The sketch in upside gives example of usage laser beam riding and designator.

Munitions and Firearms That Use Laser Beam Riding

Swiss made SAM and ATGM system ADATS.

Russian made ATGM system Kornet.

Russian made ATGM system Vikhr.

Turkish made ATGM and SAM system Cirit.

American made Paveway series of guided bombs.

Laser guided 70mm(2.75 inch) rocket made by Thales.

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