Optoelectronics for Custom Military Applications

Pacer played a key role in the development of a new design of a portable laser target designator to support military operations. Leonardo MW Ltd is well-known for its continuous innovation within aerospace, defence, and security. To support modern military operations, the company developed its hand-held Type 163 laser target designator with a focus on designing a portable laser that was simple and easy to operate, as well as rugged and reliable. A key requirement in the development of the designator was a laser rangefinder which would ensure the final design delivered a best in class solution, further demonstrating Leonardo’s proven capability in laser designator manufacturing for the military.

Limited time and resources meant that the Leonardo team sought support from a flexible and agile partner to further develop the product within a tight timeframe. Recognising our 30+ years pedigree in optoelectronics, Leonardo turned to Pacer's team of highly skilled engineers to develop the laser rangefinder, aligning with the stringent requirements and technical specifications.

Laser specialist and project lead, Stuart Sendall comments: “Designating up to 10km requires a significant amount of energy via a huge wall of photons within a short period of time. We needed to be able to consider the huge optical dynamic range required whilst managing the atmospheric backscatter in the form of particles, sand, dust, and water in the air. Equally, we recognised that we couldn’t design a solution that was too sensitive, whereby false returns from atmospheric conditions were being distributed.

Fundamentally, we needed to design an electrical circuit that could manage the effects of this wide optical dynamic range and the consequences this could have on amplified saturation and false alarms triggered by atmospheric backscatter.”

The lens design also proved challenging, with an extremely limited space of just 30mm in which to develop the lens. In high ambient light environments, if sunlight reflects onto the receiver it can bloom and saturate. The designator needed to meet stringent environmental specifications, particularly in relation to the wide and varied weather conditions these systems would be operating within. With such small signals, we had to test the product for electromagnetic immunity, both radiative and susceptibility.

Despite the challenges, being able to foresight the designator to 10km range and 2m diameter accuracy whilst meeting the rigorous requirements is a significant technical achievement. 

Download the full case study using the button below - first published by Industrial Technology in February 2021.

Pdf Download

To find out more about our Custom Solutions capability, download our Custom Solutions brochure below.

Pdf Download