WIT Press

Lasers, Air Force Safety, LSSRB, DEWCB, Approval, Exemption


Free (open access)





Page Range

511 - 519




858 kb

Paper DOI



WIT Press


M. D. Gifford


Safety oversight of lasers in the U.S. Air Force M. D. Gifford U.S. Air Force, HQ Air Force Safety Center, USA Abstract The United States Air Force is a significant user of lasers in military operations, and this use is growing rapidly. The Air Force has safety oversight processes designed to identify hazards of specific laser systems, communicate those hazards to users, and approve lasers for service use. This paper outlines current and projected use of lasers as battlefield tools, sensors, and weapons. In addition, it describes the USAF safety certification processes for weapon and non-weapon lasers, and measures taken to protect human safety of USAF and non-USAF personnel. Since perfect safety is impossible, the USAF safety oversight process seeks to balance personal safety with the needs of military operations. Technical measurements and analyses are used to inform a decisionmaking body that approves systems for use with appropriate safety constraints. Keywords: lasers, Air Force safety, LSSRB, DEWCB, approval, exemption. 1 Introduction Air Force safety is no accident! The Air Force has developed a culture of safety based on this motto, from the highest ranks right down to newly recruited Airmen. The Air Force embraces the idea of making sure each and every member is properly protected and safe while performing his or her duties. Whether it is on the battlefield or in garrison, protocols, policy, and guidance establish necessary steps to lead the way. The central organization that oversees Air Force safety is the Headquarters Air Force Safety Center (HQ AFSC). Members of this organization can get involved in various aspects of Air Force safety, but the primary focus of the following paper deals with the directed energy team. How the safety process works, what is available in the inventory, and who is involved are just a few questions that will be answered.


lasers, Air Force safety, LSSRB, DEWCB, approval, exemption