Attollo’s Cameras are Made to See the Most Challenging Lasers
Attollo Engineering sells infrared cameras that are optimized to see battlefield lasers, but what do we mean by “battlefield lasers?” Often the different laser types sound very similar. A handy list of the different lasers is shown below.
|Laser Target Designator (LTD)
|< 25 ns
|High power military laser used to guide munitions to their targets
|Laser Target Marker (LTM)
|< 25 ns
|Lower power military laser (than LTD) used by ground troops to handoff to pilots for deploying munitions.
|Continuous Wave (CW)
|A highly collimated light beam for providing locations to others with night vision goggles (NVGs).
|Multiple wavelengths within SWIR
|1 ms – 30 ms
|A laser-based flashlight with a wider field of coverage for providing light for imaging where little light resides
|Laser Rangefinder (LRF)
|905, 940, 1530-1570 nm
|< 25 ns
|A short-pulsed, narrow beam of light used to determine the distance to target though time of flight measurement.
In the case of higher power infrared lasers, as used for marking and designating munitions targets, even these terms are sometimes casually used interchangeably. The main difference between a laser target marker (LTM) and a laser target designator (LTD) is quite significant. A laser target designator is able to guide the munitions to a specific target. A laser target marker gives a general area or location to the pilot to deploy munitions. An added complexity with markers and designators is the importance of covert wavelengths and the use of serialized coded laser pulses, also called PRF codes (pulse repetition frequency).
A laser pointer is generally defined as a single coherent and highly collimated light beam, intended to provide a narrow point on the target. A laser illuminator in contrast is more like a laser-based flashlight; still a coherent light source, but with a wider field of coverage and usually used to help illuminate a target or object that is being viewed with a IR sensor, such as Shortwave Infrared (SWIR) camera. Additional applications for illuminators include to disable an optical payload by overwhelming the sensor’s sensitivity to cause temporary or permanent damage, impairing the enemy’s surveillance or targeting capabilities.
Finally, a laser rangefinder uses an eye-safe beam of light that can be at different wavelengths. Short distance rangefinders generally emit at 905 nm or 940 nm, and longer range rangefinders emit at 1530-1570 nm. Rangefinders measure the time of flight (TOF) of the pulse to measure distance and proximity to important objects and landmarks. These lasers can be a single laser shot or a train of laser pulses.
In terms of Attollo Engineering products, the Mantis™ event detector uses PreCog™ Imaging to capture laser events and then real-time trigger our Phoenix™ SWIR and Griffin™ MWIR cameras to capture the location of the event in an image. Attollo also designs our own laser systems including high rep-rate laser range rangefinders and laser beacons, keeping us knowledgeable on laser characteristics. In the case of all lasers used for tactical combat, there are many variables include the wavelengths, optical power and the aforementioned PRF codes.
Attollo Engineering makes a wide range of infrared sensors, see spot systems, laser event detector modules, and infrared camera cores. With our heritage in laser sensing and lasers, we are eager to discuss your laser sensing challenges and how Attollo can be apart of your next mission.
To learn more about our products or to discuss solutions that address the needs around the wider scale use of lasers in the battlefield, please contact us.