On Sept 11, 2001, it became evident that protecting military and other high value assets from airborne attack was critical to national security. One of the challenges associated with this task is determining if approaching aircraft have friendly or unfriendly intent. The ability to warn and ward-off general aviation and commercial pilots not maintaining radio contact is currently limited to costly fighter intercept. The novel use of lasers to signal a warning to pilots is being investigated at the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), Human Effectiveness Directorate, Optical Radiation Branch at Brooks City-Base, TX. Current research evaluated what type of laser signal is most effectively noticed and interpreted by pilots as a warning to avoid crossing a virtual boundary in the sky. Cognitive interpretation studies of light and laser signals as warning in a typical cluttered urban environment along with laser threshold for warning will be discussed.

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