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"Iranians Laser US Helicopter" Topic

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Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian14 Jun 2017 4:30 p.m. PST

An Iranian missile boat pointed a laser at a U.S. Marine helicopter while two Navy warships and a cargo ship were transiting out of the Persian Gulf through the Strait of Hormuz on Tuesday, a senior US defense official said…


JMcCarroll Inactive Member14 Jun 2017 5:02 p.m. PST

We've got lasers right? Let's use them too.

skipper John Supporting Member of TMP14 Jun 2017 5:14 p.m. PST

Did they "Point a Laser" or did they use a "Laser pointer?"

USAFpilot Supporting Member of TMP15 Jun 2017 7:49 a.m. PST

Very serious. Lasers can blind the pilots and do permanent eye damage. It is a federal offense in the USA to point a laser at an airplane in flight.

ScoutJock15 Jun 2017 11:49 a.m. PST

To Skipper's point, painting an aircraft with a laser target designator or range finder can be considered an act of war vs shining a laser pointer at an aircraft, while dangerous to Pilot's point, is more nuisance than evidence of hostile intent. Most modern aircraft have avionics to tell the crew what is painting them if hostile.

Personal logo Andrew Walters Supporting Member of TMP15 Jun 2017 12:11 p.m. PST

Wouldn't this be the equivalent of a radar lock-on? Not an act of war per se, but certainly an incident of note.

But then this is the Iranians, they shoot at people and take hostages from time to time. For them this is penny-ante stuff. If the US *wants* to go Praying Mantis on them this is nearly enough reason, but that's probably not the right strategic direction.

Lion in the Stars15 Jun 2017 7:04 p.m. PST

Pointing a laser-target-designator at someone is the same thing as locking them up with a fire-control radar: An act of war.

Assuming that this was a LTD, we should be expressing our displeasure with 500lb bombs and/or gunfire the next time it happens, after informing the Iranians of what will happen.

If it was someone shining a laser pointer, it's less serious (except to the pilot).

Khusrau16 Jun 2017 1:39 a.m. PST

I would want to know what a Marine Helicopter was doing hanging around an Iranian vessel.

Seems to me like both sides are playing a fairly dangerous game of chicken.

zoneofcontrol16 Jun 2017 5:10 a.m. PST

My recollection is that the strait narrows to about 25 miles at the narrowest point. With national claims over water edges, two shipping lanes with a buffer between them, there is not a lot of width to the water or airspace involved.

There are internationally agreed on procedures for navigation and communication. These are violated accidently and purposely on a regular basis.

Lion in the Stars16 Jun 2017 2:00 p.m. PST

@Khusrau: flying in a very congested chunk of real estate. Straits are about 25 nautical miles wide at the narrowest point, national waters extend up to 12 nautical miles from shore. So there's a 1nm-wide strip that isn't claimed by one side or the other. Then you have inbound and outbound shipping channels in there, which are about 5nm wide each and have at least a 1nm separation between them.

Not to mention that the Iranians like to hassle anyone transiting the inbound lane, which is mostly in their territorial waters. Or would be, if it wasn't the inbound shipping lane. Designated shipping lanes like that are declared international waters, so a helo flying in the shipping lane is supposed to be treated as if it was in international airspace.

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