Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Lasers used in Iraq and Afghanistan

  1. Apr 16, 2007 #1
    Lasers in combat??? That used to happen only in "star wars" but not any more.

    That cute essential little laser diode in your DVD drive/printer/PS3 etc has been put to more dynamic uses. Such as being used in trouble spots such as Iraq, Afghanistan and Liverpool.

    This article gives full details on their use.

  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 16, 2007 #2


    User Avatar
    Homework Helper

    Weird article. What does this bit mean?

    What? Even a 500mW laser is not going to kill anyone (it can certainly blind someone easily). These lasers are mainly going to be used for scare tactics, working only on the ignorant or unsophisticated. So what difference will it make if the laser if 5mW or 500mW? Even a 5mW beam is seen well in the dark of night (via Rayleigh scattering).

    Even the operator's life is not in any danger from a poorly constructed laser with a divergent beam and significant IR-leak through (from the pump laser). Eyesight might certainly be at risk, but not life.

    BTW, I have personal experience with these "pointers", having recently got a 200mW ClassIIIb 532 nm (green) one. It can burn garbage bags and electrical tape and can singe skin within a couple of seconds, but it's hardly a serious deterrent. The only way it can help in a crunch is if I use it to dazzle an opponent or assailant with a direct hit to an eye (which will also leave him with retinal damage).

    A taser or even a can of pepper spray would make for a better deterrent.
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2007
  4. Apr 16, 2007 #3


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Poorly written article notwithstanding, they are using laser pointers as laser pointers. They've been doing that since Vietnam (since before they were cheap enough for civilians to buy)....

  5. May 8, 2007 #4
    Liverpool? :bugeye:
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?

Similar Discussions: Lasers used in Iraq and Afghanistan