Proceedings PaperEye Safe Lasers And Their Miltary Applications In Germany
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Laser rangefinders, laser altimeters, laser radars and other laser equipment must at least fulfill the requirements of class III a as defined in the STANAG 3606 (Standard Nato agreement) in order to be eye safe. This class calls out a Nominal Optical Hazard Distance of zero meters thus guaranteeing eye safety for direct observation into the exit pupil of the laser transmitter with the unprotected eye. Some military applications in the Federal Republic of Germany place a more strenuous NOHD requirement, namely 0 meters for intra beam viewing with a 10x50 binoculars. Such a system is described. The performance achieved shows that the class III a requirement need not necessary exclude the use of such a laser for military applications. On the contrary, the measured data of such lasers shows a performance which excells that achieved with the military proven Nd:YAG laser. The eye safe feature plays an important role in respect to training. Namely training can be conducted using the actual laser system without the need for laser simulation techniques thus allowing for real system training. This paper reports on the performance of lasers operating at 0.9 μm, 1.54 μm and 10.6 μm. The laser types used in the three wavelengths are the semi-conductor, the Raman-shifted Nd:YAG and the CO2 TEA laser respectively. The results show - naturally excluding weapon laser requirements - that eye safe lasers can really fulfill the performance requirements of military systems.