Aircraft laser strike geolocation system
June 5, 2017
Laser strikes against aircraft are increasing at an alarming rate, driven by the availability of cheap powerful lasers and a lack of deterrence due to the challenges of locating and apprehending perpetrators. Although window coatings and pilot goggles effectively block laser light, uptake has been low due to high cost and pilot reluctance. This paper describes the development and testing of a proof-of-concept ground based sensor system to rapidly geolocate the origin of a laser beam in a protected region of airspace and disseminate this information to law enforcement to allow a timely and targeted response. Geolocation estimates with accuracies of better than 20 m have been demonstrated within 30 seconds of an event at a range of 8.9 nmi with a 450 mW laser. Recommendations for an operational prototype at an airport are also described.