Ballistic Goggle

PHA first designed and developed StingerHawk ballistic spectacles in 2013 to complement the Company’s flagship line of protective eyewear—the Sawfly spectacle system. In the years since, StingerHawk spectacles have proven distinctive in their own right, offering the same fragmentation protection—high-impact, interchangeable polycarbonate lenses that exceed military ballistic impact requirements for spectacles and goggles—in a low-profile, modernized style with a tighter curvature. Recently, the Stingerhawk line has gained widespread notoriety for its performance and look, particularly for the OcuMax Plus anti-fog coating, an industry leading treatment that performs between 10 and 20 times better than other anti-fog solutions on the market. This coating also provides best-in-class scratch resistance, maintaining superior optical performance in harsh conditions.


Threat of Green Laser Illuminations and the Need for the Robust Military, Tactical and Aviation Eye Protection Found in PHA’s GF-8 Lenses


THE DANGER OF INTENSIFYING LASER THREATS

In the midst of a riot control operation, eyes are wide and response triggers are necessarily hairpin-quick. When engaging in controlled aviation maneuvers, precision and focus are more than vital. When conducting a myriad of law enforcement tasks, speed and accuracy are paramount. Picture, at the apex of pressure and intensity in situations such as these, sustaining complete vision loss. This is the potential effect, intended or not, of laser strikes, and these are increasingly the scenarios where law enforcement agents, military police, and aviators find themselves under fire from laser threats. In an instant, laser illuminations can cause vision-disruption or even eye damage; and these dangers are amplified in circumstances where every second counts.
Laser (Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation) technology has long been an interest for militaries around the world. However, in recent years, concern over the increased prevalence of readily-available laser technology, easily obtained through a variety of channels, including online retail markets, has been growing in the domestic sphere and the private sector. The general market laser industry has been booming in the last decade-plus with new, cheaper technology introduced across the board. This proliferation has led directly to new dangers that need to be counteracted. So far, the rise in incidents is not matched by an equal or sustained countervailing response against the threat. Occurrences of malicious laser use have cropped-up in greater numbers and now is the time to address and nullify the problem.

RISE IN INCIDENTS AND AWARENESS

Around the globe, the number of reports of lasers used against law enforcement officials, MPs, and pilots has spiked. Lasers have been used en masse against riot police in demonstrations in regions as diverse as Canada, the U.S., Ireland, Thailand, Greece, Egypt, and Italy, among others. While difficult to pin down to a single statistic, two trends are clear: these occurrences are on the rise and are more organized. Counter-optical lasers used in demonstrations have gained notoriety due to a number of high-profile incidents—Seattle, WA, for one, saw protesters at a WTO summit direct pointers in the field of vision of crowd-control police; and in Genoa, Italy, gatherers enacted an operation to utilize 1,000 mirrors to reflect laser light back at troops. Another more recent example occurred in Cairo in 2013, where dozens of green lasers were seen striking Egyptian military helicopters circling over Tahrir Square, as well as directed against governmental buildings, police, and, at times, opposing protestors. Increasingly, for protestors and rioters, lasers offer superior standoff capabilities against police forces, resulting in officer vision disruption, distraction, disorientation, and even incapacitation. In January 2016, lasers were again in the headlines as another new iteration of this threat presented itself. Off Oahu, HI, a Coast Guard C-130 jet conducting a search-and-rescue operation for 12 missing Marines was forced to deviate course after a repeated, persistent directed laser strike on the aircraft’s cockpit. The following month, a Virgin Atlantic commercial flight with 252 passengers flying from London to New York was forced to turn around when the crew reported a “medical issue” with one of the pilots after a laser hit.

EYE DAMAGE

Eyes are much more vulnerable than skin; directed light energy can potentially cause permanent eye injury or loss. The threshold for incurring injury is lower and the duration to sustain this injury is shorter. Any eye exposure beyond set levels of Maximum Permissible Exposure (MPE) can cause ocular tissue damage. Even relatively cheap, easily obtainable lasers can have operating ranges up to a few kilometers at night, and often emit as much as 50 to 1,000 mW of power, a factor of 10 to 200 times higher than the MPE of a safe pointer[xiii]. This means that without proper protection, the eyes can incur serious damage and it will not be perceived until it is too late. A severe burn of the cornea may produce a loss of vision even after healing.