BAE Systems believes technological advances in the future could enable military generals to use lasers and the Earth’s atmosphere to create a magnifying effect to observe the activities of enemies over huge distances.

The aerospace and security technology firm has created a concept called a Laser Developed Atmospheric Lens – which can also be used as a deflector shield for friendly aircraft, ships and other vehicles – and works by simulating naturally occurring phenomena and temporarily changes the Earth’s atmosphere into a lens-like structure to magnify or change the path of electromagnetic waves such as light and radio signals.

Laser Developed Atmospheric Lens
(BAE Systems)

The result is that listeners are able to tune in to radio stations that are thousands of miles away.

Professor Nick Colosimo, BAE Systems’ Futurist and Technologist said: “Working with some of the best scientific minds in the UK, we’re able to incorporate emerging and disruptive technologies and evolve the landscape of potential military technologies in ways that, five or ten years ago, many would never have dreamed possible.”

Laser Developed Atmospheric Lens
(BAE Systems)

The technology, which uses high-powered lasers, could also be used to recreate mirrors and glass lenses using the atmosphere thanks to a physics effect it can replicate called the Kerr Effect where a powerful electric field causes the optical properties of the atmosphere to change.