Aircrew left ‘disorientated’ after fighter jet landing at RAF Lakenheath targeted by laser

Jets prepare for takeoff from RAF Lakenheath on Wednesday night ANL-160403-174843001
Jets prepare for takeoff from RAF Lakenheath on Wednesday night ANL-160403-174843001

The aircrew of a US fighter jet were left ‘momentarily disorientated’ when a laser was directed at the plane as it landed at RAF Lakenheath.

The US Air Force confirmed the crew of the F-15E Strike Eagle saw a laser beam reflecting off the aircraft while on approach to land at the base on Wednesday night.

A spokeswoman said although the laser did not hit any of the pilots in the eyes they were ‘momentarily disorientated’.

The laser appeared to be coming from the ground.

She said: “If you can imagine a laser pointer, that’s what our aircrew saw, only it was amplified in intensity and size.”

The Ministry of Defence was notified and they dispatched a patrol to search the area.

The spokeswoman added: “Aiming a laser at an aircraft is a serious risk to flight safety.

“Many high-powered lasers can completely incapacitate pilots while flying.

“The irresponsible or malicious use of lasers can threaten the lives of aircrew, passengers, and even individuals on the ground should it result in an aircraft crash.

“Not only does the misuse of laser devices pose a serious threat to aviation safety, but it is also a criminal offence.”