Monday, April 18, 2005

NORAD To Implement 'Laser Warning System' Over Nation's Capitol

Laser Plane

Cameras, lasers will scan skies over D.C.

By Sara Kehaulani Goo
The Washington Post

     WASHINGTON -- The U.S. military will begin using an elaborate network of cameras and lasers next month to scan the skies over Washington and flash colored warning beams at aircraft that enter the nation's most restricted metropolitan airspace.

     About a dozen high-powered cameras at unidentified locations will be able to zoom in on an airplane anywhere in the restricted airspace, which covers a 30-mile radius around each of the Washington area's three major airports. Red and green laser beams attached to the cameras will then warn the aircraft to leave the area.

     The new warning system will allow North American Aerospace Defense Command, or NORAD, officials to constantly scan the area from facilities thousands of miles away, using radar and the infrared cameras with 360-degree capability. Local pilots said they supported the new effort but were concerned that many pilots would not be able to understand what the laser beams mean unless the government launches an intensive education effort.

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