Laser/Fiber Optic Based Lighting for Aircrafts 2012-01-2145
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.