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Laser/Fiber Optic Based Lighting for Aircrafts

Journal Article
ISSN: 1946-3855, e-ISSN: 1946-3901
Published October 22, 2012 by SAE International in United States
Laser/Fiber Optic Based Lighting for Aircrafts
Citation: Tomasi, G., "Laser/Fiber Optic Based Lighting for Aircrafts," SAE Int. J. Aerosp. 5(2):289-293, 2012,
Language: English


Lighting and illumination systems using visible Lasers light sources are being developed under a number of US Navy programs to reduce the ship's costs including acquisition, installation, operation, and maintenance. Recent advances resulting from research initiatives funded thru the Office of Naval Research Mantech program and a Navy SBIR project are making broader applications of this technology feasible, including possible transition into aircrafts for position, landing, anti-collision, cargo loading, wing icing detection, and interior lights. The development of these lasers is being driven by the high definition projection industry, with substantial investments made to bring the technology to broad scale implementation, and with the anticipated increase in product availability and decrease in costs.
The laser systems offer significant advantages over fiber optic systems using other light sources including metal halide and LEDs. A laser prototype has provided from a single fiber five times the intensity of an LED from a 37 fibers cable. With a laser system the fiber cable cost is reduced by ~80% and the cable size and weight by ~70%. Lasers are fully compatible with Night Vision Imaging Systems (NVIS) without necessitating the use of filters, allowing white light illumination while not affecting the pilots' ability to perform NVIS-aided operations.
The overall benefits that these fiber optic lighting systems may offer to the aircraft industry include weight reduction, all dielectric light transport cables, minimal interference with the aircraft structure, reduced maintenance, increased durability of the external components, and longer light sources life.