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In this paper, we investigate the feasible schemes to generate periodic optical pulses of width between several picoseconds (ps) and tens ps. Gain-switched semiconductor laser diodes are shown to be more suitable for avionics applications than mode-locked laser diodes. In the experiment, we use a low-cost Fabry-Perot laser diode to generate short optical pulse streams. A simple optical injection-locking scheme is then used to reduce the timing jitter and frequency chirp in such laser diodes, which in turn can improve the transmission performance of the generated optical pulses. It is expected that the use of gain-switched semiconductor lasers can meet the requirement of high-speed airborne communication networks or ground supporting systems at airports. Moreover, we discuss the possibility of using the pulsed semiconductor lasers to generate millimetre-wave (mm-wave) signals for future applications to airborne high-resolution, mm-wave radars.