The US Air Force and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) led a team that included Northrop Grumman Corp. and its partners, Taboada Research Instruments and Cherokee CRC, to design, build and integrate a one-of-a-kind laser positioning system in a Boeing 737 flight simulator to study flight performance while aircrews are exposed to lasers.

The Northrop Grumman’s Information Technology (IT) sector team assisted the Air Force and FAA in creating this technology capability, which will help define how pilots respond to lasers when pointed at aircraft during flight. The researchers integrated eye-safe lasers in the flight simulator to monitor pilots’ reactions so that new flight safety measures can be developed to counter the threat.

“The team’s technological contribution to the flight simulator will lead to improvements in cockpit procedures so commercial and military pilots can concentrate on safely flying their aircraft should a laser be pointed at them,” said Jim Barry, vice president of Technology Integration & Applications for Northrop Grumman IT’s Defense Group. “We look forward to continued development of technological enhancements with the Air Force and the FAA to create new defensive mechanisms against lasers threats.” Work on the contract was conducted at Brooks City Base, San Antonio, TX, and at the FAA’s Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center in Oklahoma City, OK.