The growth in the use of guided weapon systems during the Vietnam War in the late 1960s highlighted the need for Air Forces to consider fitting Defensive Aids to aircraft and by the 1990s most combat aircraft were fitted with a comprehensive suite of systems; similarly Navy’s have routinely fitted their ships with an increasingly advanced range of warning systems. But, few Armies around the world routinely fit Laser Warning Systems to their armoured vehicles.
Lasers are now common-place on the battlefield in roles from Laser Range Finders and Laser Target Markers to Laser Guided bombs & missiles. Increasingly affordable, available and advanced, the use of lasers to target armoured vehicles now provides a major threat to the use of armour on the battlefield.
Laser Warning Systems are designed to detect the hostile use of lasers and alert the crew of an armoured fighting vehicle to the threat – giving them time to deploy appropriate defensive measures (smoke, movement, use of weapons, defensive aids suites etc.)
An effective Laser Warning System must have a High Probability of Detection (PoD) of a threat, a Low False Alarm Rate (FAR), automated identification & prioritization of various threat types and the ability to accurately locate the direction of the threat.
Integration with the Vehicle’s Battle Management System can then allow automated responses ranging from alerts to the crew, through automated firing of smoke to the fully automated use of the vehicle’s weapons to target the laser firing point.
The UKs position
In the UK, the Army recognises the threat posed by modern laser guided weapons and the need to provide systems to improve survivability of its high-value platforms. Ferranti Technologies has recently been in discussion with a number of UK Vehicle Integrators regarding this problem and will be conducting further trials.
Ferranti Technologies’ Laser Warning System provides reliable and accurate alerts across the full range of laser threats and is integrated directly into the Battle Management System providing the crew with full control of the system from their standard crew stations.