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Laser guidance is a technique of guiding a missile or other projectile or vehicle to a target by means of a laser beam. Most of the laser guided systems operate semi-active radar homing (SARH). This technique is sometimes called SALH, for Semi-Active Laser Homing. This is likely to be widely used by advanced military vehicles in order to make it harder to use laser rangefinders against them and harder to hit them with laser- guided missiles.


Missiles differ from rockets by virtue of a guidance system that steers them towards a pre-selected target. Unguided rockets proved to be useful yet frequently inaccurate weapons when fired from aircraft during the World War II. Several warring nations, including the United States, Germany and Great Britain mated existing rocket technology with new radio- or radar-based guidance systems to create the world's first guided missiles. The problems centered on the unreliability of the new radiowave technologies.

Dr. Theodore Maiman built the first laser (Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation) at Hughes Research Laboratories in 1960.
The military realized the potential applications for lasers almost as soon as their first beams cut through the air. The accuracy of these weapons earned them the well-known sobriquet of "smart weapons." the laser guided missile has established itself as a key component in today's high-tech military technology.


Semi-active radar homing or SARH, is a common type of missile guidance system for longer range air to air and surface to air missile systems. In the SARH system the missile listens for the reflected signal at the nose, and is still responsible for providing some sort of lead guidance. SARH is largely independent of range and grows more accurate as it approaches the target.



Guided missiles are made up of a series of subassemblies. The various subassemblies form a major section of the overall missile to operate a missile system, such as guidance, control, armament (warhead and fuzing), and propulsion.


Guidance and Control Section Includes the electronic sensing systems that initiate the guidance orders and the control system that carries them out. There are a number of basic guidance systems but Homingtype, air-launched, guided missiles are currently used.

Homing systems are classified as active, semi active, and passive.