The FBI has awarded a contract to Optra to supply Laser Event Recorders (LER), which will be used to fight the laser dazzle problem that has become an increasing problem for pilots worldwide.
The problem that pilots have been facing is from people on the ground that point hand-held laser devices at aircraft. Some of these lasers have a range of up to 5 miles and in some cases can cause temporary blindness for the pilot that could result in loss of control of the aircraft. With the LER being used in the cockpit of an aircraft it is possible to detect a laser pointed in the direction of an aircraft and allow the pilot to avoid eye contact while at the same time capturing critical information that can be used to locate, apprehend and prosecute the offender.
Optra originally developed this technology under contract to the US Navy due to the concern the Navy had about pilot eye safety due to the high number of laser incidences being seen in combat conditions overseas. The LER device collects diffracted images and processes them in real-time by an onboard embedded controller to extract the laser event information, which is then time-tagged with GPS information and saved to a removable flash disk. The system also provides real-time onboard visual warning of both the presence of laser radiation and whether it is at levels that can potentially damage the eye.