US Navy seeks laser weapons
Northrop Grumman has been selected to design and produce a Laser Weapon System Demonstrator (LWSD) by the US Office of Naval Research, the company announced on 22 December.
The contract, awarded in October, will see Northrop Grumman take forward development under a three phase programme. This will include a design, production, integration and testing of a 150-kilowatt-class solid state (electric) laser weapon system.
Phase one will see the company develop a detailed design for the new system, while phase two will include assembly and ground testing. Phase three will comprise at-sea testing aboard the navy's Self Defense Test Ship (SDTS).
The initial award of $53 million will support work planned for the next 12 months. With all contract options exercised the value could grow to $91 million over 34 months.
Guy Renard, director and program manager, directed energy, Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems, said: ‘Northrop Grumman is integrating the latest in high energy lasers with more than 40 years of experience as a laser weapon system integrator to protect sailors against last-minute, high impact threats.
‘For about the price of a gallon of diesel fuel per shot, we're offering the navy a high-precision defensive approach that will protect not only its sailors, but also its wallet.’
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