Optical techniques for measuring airdata parameters have been demonstrated with promising results on high-performance fighter aircraft. These systems can measure the airspeed vector, and some are not as dependent on special in-flight calibration processes as current systems. Optical concepts for measuring freestream static temperature and density are feasible for in-flight applications. The best feature of these concepts is that the airdata measurements are obtained nonintrusively, and for the most part well into the freestream region of the flow field about the aircraft. Current requirements for measuring airdata at high angle of attack, and future need to measure the same information at hypersonic flight conditions place strains on existing techniques. Optical technology advances show outstanding potential for application in future programs and promise to make common use of optical concepts a reality. This paper summarizes results from several flight-test programs and identifies the technology advances required to make optical airdata techniques practical.