Electronic warfare, in the broad usage, considers all parts of the electromagnetic spectrum, so the AN/AVR-2 laser warning receiver series is yet another subdiscipline of self-defense for military vehicles: optical countermeasures. Since the first requisite for countermeasures is to be warned of the threat, the first U.S. airborne device, deployed on an AH-1 Cobra, sensed that a laser designator or rangefinder was "painting" the attack helicopter, and sent a new warning signal that appeared on the cockpit display of the existing AN/APR-39A(V)1 radar warning set.  Newer versions were deployed on a variety of U.S. Army and United States Special Operations Command attack and transport helicopters, with the primary role of telling the crew to take evasive action. They also act as receivers for the "laser tag" MILES system used for training.
The General Accounting Office recommended against production of the AVR-2 series  until additional operational tests could be conducted. The prototypes did not do well in 1985 testing, and, while new testing began in 1991, it was cancelled due to priorities of the Gulf War.
The AVR-2 series is being replaced by an equivalent function in the AN/AAR-47(V)2 missile warning system, which detects both the exhaust of threatening missile launchers, and also laser radiation. This system can cue a countermeasures launcher, as well as give warning to the crew.
Optical countermeasures remains a new area of technology, for which the U.S. Navy has brought into its overall electronic warfare environment simulation system. This environment will make use of the AVR-2.
The AN/VVR-1 was introduced in 1994 as a laser threat detector for ground vehicles.
- "Optical systems can help stop missiles", Laser Focus World 44 (11), November, 2008
- AN/AVR-2 Laser Warning System, Globalsecurity
- General Accounting Office (January 1993), Electronic Warfare: Laser Warning System Production Should Be Limited, ADA260208
- "Bell OH-58D Kiowa Warrior", Taiwan Air Power