AFI 11-301 VOL 4
AIRCREW LASER EYE PROTECTION (ALEP)
Publication Date: 02/21/2008 - Complete Document Changes Incorporated
Introduction. Protecting aircrews from harmful lasers is a complex problem involving science, intelligence and medicine in the context of an operational scenario. There are numerous factors that must be considered as part of developmental requirements such as: compatibility with different aircraft cockpit displays, type mission, head gear, night vision devices, vision correction, device weight, field of view and other human system integration issues. An effective program requires a general understanding of laser threats, inherent system hazards, and a coordinated interaction between medical, laser safety experts (bioenvironmental engineers or health physicists), intelligence, aircrew and Aircrew Flight Equipment personnel.
Laser Threat. Aggressive foreign laser development, availability of low cost hazardous commercial devices, growing number of our own laser designators, range finders and hand held pointers continues to increase the chance of exposure. In 1995, Vienna Protocol IV to the 1980 Conference of the States Parties to the Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) was drafted, banning use and transfer of laser weapons whose primary purpose is to permanently blind. Although Protocol IV may be viewed as successful in prohibiting use and transfer of a specific category of anti-personnel weapon, we must prepare for inadvertent exposure and enemies who may not abide by such protocols. For these reasons, the Air Force approved Aircrew Laser Eye Protection (ALEP) Operational Requirements Document in 1996 to begin formal development and acquisition programs.
Laser Hazard. LASER is an acronym for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. Lasers produce a coherent intense beam of light and under certain circumstances exposure can result in damage to the human eye or skin. The human eye is the most vulnerable to injury from lasers in the visible region (400-700nm wavelengths) but are also vulnerable to longer wavelengths of invisible lasers in the near infrared region (700-1100nm) and shorter wavelengths in the ultra-violet region. Lasers can cause eye injuries at ranges up to several miles and incur a "dazzling" effect at even greater distances, particularly at night. Reflection within the cockpit when using a hand held laser pointer also presents a hazard to aircrew.
Lasers damage human eyes at ranges up to several miles and cause a "dazzling" effect at even greater distances (particularly at night). Dazzling occurs when Lasers interact with cockpit illumination and scatter light resulting in the inability of aircrew to perform their mission.
Reflective energy released from a hand held Laser pointer in an aircraft cockpit presents a potential hazard to aircrew not wearing appropriate Laser eye protection.
Document Type : Complete Document
Language : English
Page Count : 15
Publication Date : 02/21/2008
Revision : 08
Status : Current
Supplement : W/
Title : AIRCREW LASER EYE PROTECTION (ALEP)