Laser Target Designators for special forces

In the modern warfare, the usage of so-called ‘smart’ bombs – such as the Paveway series used in Operation Allied Force against Serb forces in Kosovo – allow a warhead to be delivered with pinpoint accuracy against a designated target – even to the point of flying a bomb in through the doorway or ventilation shaft of a hardened shelter in high-percentage of accuracy.

Today, the Laser designators are necessary portable devices carried by various special forces units such Air Controllers units for the purpose of marking ground targets for friendly air assets. Laser designator consists of an optical sight, coded laser emitter and range finder. Regular Laser Target Designators (LTD) are available in various sizes but are usually mounted on tripods to ensure a stable aiming platform.

The feature provided by the Laser Target Designators have many advantages over the conventional ‘dumb’ or ‘iron’ bombs dropped from aircraft and left to fall unguided because the Laser Guided Bombs (LGBs) reduce the risk of collateral damage and that enables the attacking force to do considerably greater damage to enemy targets and resources. In most cases, to ensure high accuracy in marking targets and aiming those bombs Laser Target Designator (LTD) is used.

The crucial point, to make all this work is that the target must be illuminated accurately with a laser beam to guide the bomb. The laser target designator (LTD) is not only used by ground forces. It may be also mounted on an aircraft, or otherwise deployed on the ground, often by special forces operating behind enemy lines to locate targets and ‘designate’ them for attacking air assets.

British military use the Pilkington LF25 laser target designator (LTD). This type of Laser Target Designator only 8 kg and that makes it ideal for the special forces because it can be carried by a single soldier, either in its transit case or in a bergen. The instructions recommending it to be set up on a small folding tripod. The Pilkington LF25 have a built-in x10 telescope through which the operator aligns the laser beam. There is also an interface for an image intensifier or thermal imaging sight, allowing the unit to be used in virtually any conditions, day or night.

The Laser Target Designators are regular equipment of the ground special forces for the country’s with high sophisticated Air Forces. Most of the airstrikes in Iraq and Syria these days are carried out with the help of LTD’s.