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Laser designation is the practice of shining a laser beam on a target (illuminating it) in order to mark it for destruction by friendly forces or their guided weapons. Recent models of laser designator use infrared lasers so as to avoid the spot being noticed by the targeted folks, and can encode messages in their laser light pulses for verification purposes as well as to allow multiple laser seeker guided weapons to be used simultaneously without cross-targeting.

The U.S. military can presently designate targets in a variety of manners; ground troops have man-portable versions, ground vehicles have mounted designators, as do aircraft. In addition, some hand-held designators are small enough to be used by pilots of ground-support aircraft to confirm targeting information with Forward Air Controllers on the ground or in aircraft of their own.

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