Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Targeting of aircraft with laser beams a growing problem

A pair of Canadian business jets were hit with high-powered green lasers as they approached Casper-Natrona County International Airport during separate events in August. According to the sources, green-colored lasers were shined into the cockpits of both Canadian planes around 10 p.m. on separate nights. Officials did not want to specify the exact dates at this time. Both pilots were directed to contact the FBI in Casper. At least one of the pilots was deeply shaken by the event and vowed to not fly back into Casper if his craft was lased again.

Federal authorities recognize lasing of aircraft is an increasingly serious problem. The focused beams of lasers remain powerful at long distances and can expose pilots to dangerous radiation. Lasers can bring down aircraft, according to warnings issued by the FBI and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The reports point out that simple laser pointers available at office supply stores don’t have the power, nor can they be controlled well enough to target fast-moving business or commercial jetliners. The Federal Aviation Administration reported earlier this year that at least 148 laser attacks were carried out during a 2-month period against commercial craft landing at Seattle-Tacoma airport.

Studies show that military grade hardware is designed for the purpose of disrupting cockpit crews or damaging the eyesight of military forces on a battlefield. The military equipment is also used against troops wearing night vision equipment. The Chinese-made military laser, the ZM 87, has an effective range of 10 kilometers, or more than six miles.

Previously published official reports say that none of the military hardware is easily obtainable since it is protected by the owner governments; is very expensive; and is large enough to be used on tanks or aboard warships. The reports add, however, that for a few thousand dollars a terrorist could acquire lasers used in outdoor light shows.

This kind of attack on aircraft is becoming a worldwide phenomenon. Recently a 19 year old from England was sentenced to six months jail for shining a laser beam at police helicopter.



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Who am I?

I am a law enforcement professional with over 35 years experience in both sworn and civilian positions. I have service in 3 different countries in both the northern and southern hemispheres.

My principal areas of expertise are: (1) Intelligence, (2) Training and Development, (3) Knowledge Management, and (4) Administration/Supervision.

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