Lightsticks for the Air Force

The various military light sticks are widely used by air forces for a variety of applications:

  • Marking equipment dropped from an aircraft
  • Marking out a drop zone during parcel delivery from the air
  • Marking out a runway or a helicopter landing zone
  • Marking payload and parcel drop areas for nighttime airborne operations
  • Marking helicopter access routes for easier identification at night for offloading / access to the helicopter

Use of light sticks in the cockpit

  • Backup lighting: US Air Force pilots place 1.5 inch light sticks Mini at their fingertips as a reliable low intensity source of light in order to read avionics indications in the flight compartment during night vision flights.

Applications for airborne procurements

  • Wind direction indicator: dropped from an aircraft, light sticks can be used to determine the direction and strength of the wind over the Drop Zone (DZ).
  • DZ markers: lightsticks or batons mark the center and perimeter of the Drop (DZ). On the ground, they indicate the center and perimeter of the Drop Zone. They provide helicopter landing or drop zone markings on the ground.
  • Load officer: MINI 1.5 inch lightsticks on the floor of the aircraft indicate load movements during flights without lighting.
  • Airdrop load marking: IMPACT 15 inch (40cm) lightsticks activated on impact with the ground to indicate the location of the load and its contents by a color code. Air drops can be identified immediately in the dark as soon as they hit the ground.

Airborne Applications

  • Altimeter illumination: a MINI light stick is attached around the altimeter.
  • Free fall marking: MINI lightsticks are attached to the legs and helmets of each parachutist indicating the distance between the individuals and the positions of the leaders.
  • Parachute marking: Flexbands attached to the top of the parachutes allow the jumpers to form up in the air.

Search and Rescue using lightsticks

  • Survival kit: US Air Force pilots who are shot down use SOS signals as identification during Search and Rescue operations and these devices are visible within a 4.8 km radius.
  • Rescue lighting: the Personal Marker Light PML can be activated with one hand when attached to a life-jacket and is visible from more than one nautical mile (1.6 km) for more than 8 hours.
  • Life raft markers: the lightsticks enable pilots shot down over the sea to emit signals in an emergency.

Training or operational fire guidance

  • Friendly Positions: Use ChemLight products to identify friendly positions and reduce the possibilities of friendly fire during air support missions.
  • Initial and target point marking: troops on the ground can mark targets visually or with initial point infrared markers to improve the efficiency of air support missions.
  • Training zone markers: visible 15 Inch (40cm) lightsticks can mark out camp limits on the right and on the left.

Airport Safety / Security Applications

  • Perimeter Protection/Warning: use of intruder lighted traps/detectors to give an initial warning on approach. Color codification of approaches.
  • Patrol route marking: Use of MINI lightsticks for road marking or for marking mustering points.
  • Pocket lamps: 4″ or 6″ lightsticks to provide lighting from the open side of the individual packaging of the stick.

Cyalume light sticks for airborne testing / TAP

  • Marking of various zones (LZ Landing Zone, DZ Drop Zone/Dropping Zone): 10” lightsticks on tripods or 15’’ lightsticks can mark out routes and offloading zones; an inverted “Y” or a “T” can mark the landing zone in a helicopter landing zone, and the approach direction.
  • Rope end indicator: two 15 Inch (40cm) lightsticks are attached to the end of the lifeline informing the crew commander of when the rope touches the ground. To be attached to the line 1.5 m from the touchdown point. Lay out the rope and ensure that it is fully extended on the ground before being used with descenders (during use at night, 2 Cyalume lightsticks are attached to the bottom end of the rope).
  • Hook lighting: Flexbands around the hook make sling drops easier.

For covert operations at night, several marking techniques can be used for stealthy progression. Scouts use visible Cyalume lightsticks with pre-established color codes or infrared versions for reconnaissance along the route being followed so that followers can reach rallying points more quickly.

The related Cyalume products