Radar is the sensor on which much of aviation is built: surveillance, air traffic control, targeting, weather avoidance, ground mapping. Infrared has become indispensable over the last 50 years: heat-seeking missiles, thermal-imaging cameras for navigation and targeting, intelligence and surveillance, enhanced vision. Now lidar is making a bid to become an operational necessity. Air data sensing, turbulence detection, brownout landings, obstacle warning, collision avoidance—all are ...

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