- Laser designator
A laser designator is a
laserlight source which is used to illuminate a target. Laser designators provide targeting for laser guided bombs, missiles, or precision artillerymunitions, such as the Pavewayseries of bombs, Lockheed-Martin's Hellfire, or the Copperhead round, respectively. Laser designators may be mounted on aircraft, ground vehicles, or handheld. The U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy currently employ the Litening II Targeting Pod on a variety of strike aircraft. [ [http://www.af.mil/factsheets/factsheet.asp?fsID=114 Factsheets: LITENING II/ER/AT] ] The Litening II is widely used by many other of the world’s air forces. The United Kingdom’s Royal Air Forceuse the TIALDsystem and the French use the DAMOCLES and ATLIS II. U.S. Air Force Joint Terminal Air Controllers and Marine Corps Forward Air Controllers typically employ a lightweight device, such as the AN/PED-1 Lightweight Laser Designator Rangefinder (LLDR), permitting them to designate targets for Close Air Supportaircraft flying overhead and in close proximity to friendly forces. [ [http://www.es.northropgrumman.com/solutions/lldr/index.html AN/PED-1 LLDR] ] .
When a target is marked by a designator, the beam is invisible and does not shine continuously. Instead, a series of coded pulses of laser-light are fired. These signals bounce off the target into the sky, where they are detected by the seeker on the laser guided munition, which steers itself towards the centre of the reflected signal. It is important to note that unless the people being targeted possess laser detection equipment or can hear aircraft overhead, it is extremely difficult for them to tell whether they are being marked or not. Laser designators work best in clear atmospheric conditions. Cloud cover, rain or smoke can make reliable designation of targets difficult or even impossible.
* [http://www.es.northropgrumman.com/solutions/lldr/assets/LLDR.pdf Lightweight Laser Designator Rangefinder Brochure] , Northrop Grumman
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