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US: FBI to use laser event recorders in cockpits

From a press release issued June 15, 2010 by Optra, Inc.:

OPTRA Inc. Awarded Purchase Contract by U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation to supply Laser Event Recorders

Topsfield, MA (June 15, 2010) - OPTRA Inc. was awarded a contract by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to supply Laser Event Recorders (LER). The LERs will be used to fight the laser dazzle problem that has become an increasing problem for pilots worldwide in recent years.

The problem that pilots have been facing in increasing numbers 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 U.S. 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.

OPTRA is a supplier of ultra precision measurement solutions using state-of-the-art electro-optical technology. OPTRA markets the NanoGrid®, NanoScale®, and NanoGage® nanometer resolution grid and linear encoder products to the semiconductor, disk drive, and general research industries. OPTRA has a long history of IR system development and is the sole supplier of IR spectrometer modules to the JSLSCAD program, a field rated chemical agent detection system. OPTRA also provides laser beam steering technology for use in optical communication, laser micro-machining, laser trepanning and collision avoidance.

Sales Department
461 Boston Street
Topsfield, MA 01983-1290
Phone: (978) 887-6600
Fax: (978) 887-0022
Email: Sales@optra.com
Web: www.optra.com