Tag Archives: DOD blogger’s roundtable

USAF Celebrates 50 Years of the Laser

Dr. Schlossberg
Dr. Howard Schlossberg, Air Force Office of Scientific Research program manager

The Air Force has many claims to fame, including some that you may not know about. Lasers are a part of USAF’s history and a part of your everyday life. We’re taking a little bit of time to show some respect for lasers during the 50th anniversary of the first laser.

In a recent DODLive Bloggers Roundtable, Dr. Howard Schlossberg, Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, discussed the year-long celebration LaserFest, which has been showcasing the development of the laser, advancements in laser technology, and the applications of lasers.

AFOSR is involved in nascent laser research by providing necessary funding to researchers in academia and some small businesses. For the past 50 years or so, AFOSR has sponsored research that involves lasers, some of which have led to inventions.

“So much of the fundamental work that’s been done in the country has been sponsored by the Air Force,” Princeton Professor Richard Miles said. “This is the mechanism by which many of those of us in the research community and academia do our fundamental long-range research.”

Experimental work is being done using lasers to detect IEDs, but the results are not perfect and will take more years of work.  Air Force-funded laser research not only helps the warfighter, but also everyday life. For example, optical coherence tomography is used to detect eye disease, and lasers are used to correct imperfections in the production of LCD TVs.

“For me, over 48 years of a professional career, that’s been the excitement of the whole field, the interplay between the advancement of laser technology and the advancement of things you can do with lasers,” Schlossberg said.

Currently, Dr. Schlossberg is a program manager for laser and optical physics at AFOSR, and some fascinating trivia you should know is that he knows the actual inventor of the first laser. Schlossberg’s educational pedigree is truly interesting. Besides attending the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Schlossberg’s advisor, Ali Javan, was the inventor of the first continuous wave laser, and Javan’s advisor was the inventor of the laser, Charles Towne.

“I was Ali’s first student. He didn’t trust his own judgment, so he sent me to Professor Townes… to make sure I was OK. Somehow, Professor Townes said I was OK,” Schlossberg commented.

For the complete DODLive Bloggers Roundtable on lasers, visit DODLive.

Air Force’s Global Hawk providing aerial images of Haiti

Master Sgt. Russell P. Petcoff is assigned to the Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs. This blog is the result of a Department of Defense Blogger’s Roundtable held Jan. 15 and discussed one aspect of Air Force Humanitarian Relief to Haiti.

WASHINGTON – An Air Force RQ-4 Global Hawk is providing imagery to determine the extent of damage to earthquake-stricken Haiti and usability of its infrastructure, said the vice commander of the 480th Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Wing.

Global Hawk aerial view of Haiti devastation

“A lot of images of destroyed buildings,” said Col. Bradley G. Butz, 480th ISR vice commander. They are looking at images of airports to find airfields to land aircraft. The image quality and clarity is good enough whether or not an airfield can accept aircraft, the colonel added.

“We’ve got pretty good coverage of the entire country of Haiti,” Colonel Butz said.

The Global Hawk is a high-altitude, long-endurance UAS with an integrated sensor suite that provides worldwide ISR capability.

The 480th ISR, based at Langley Air Force Base, Va., is providing its images to U.S. Southern Command officials for use by whomever needs the images, Colonel Butz said. The objective is mass distribution to people and organizations that need the images to support relief and recovery operations, he added.

These images can help determine the level of destruction since aerial images of Haiti exist from June 2009. Comparing the June 2009 and the January 2010 can give an indication of the extent of the disaster. Without context “we just don’t know the impact,” the colonel said.

In addition, the Global Hawk provides assistance to soldiers of the 82nd Airborne Division who are deploying to Haiti. The Global Hawk is providing images of where the Soldiers are deploying to help them prepare for their mission, Colonel Butz said.

The Global Hawk flew 14 hours Jan. 14, providing between 400-700 images, the colonel said. It is flying daily out of Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md. The colonel said the Global Hawk will continue providing Haitian overflight support as long as the president requests.

This is the first use of the Global Hawk in a disaster relief mission in the Caribbean, according to the colonel.

Photo cutline: An aerial view of the damaged National Cathedral in Haiti by a U.S. Air Force Global Hawk unmanned aircraft system Jan. 14. Aerial images are providing U.S. military planners valuable situation awareness as they coordinate U.S. military support to the Haiti relief effort. (Release by U.S. Southern Command)