Northrop Grumman is Developing Laser Weapons for the Navy

The U.S. Navy has selected Northrop Grumman to develop a new ship-board laser weapon. The deal has three phases: initial design, ground testing, and, finally, weapons testing aboard a ship. Northrop Grumman will design and demonstrate a 150-kilowatt-class solid state (electric) laser weapon system. The $53 million deal could extend to become a $91 million, three year project.

The Navy has been exploring laser weapons as an inexpensive alternative to $1,000 missiles. Lasers can precisely incinerate targets such as enemy drones, small boats, aircraft, and missiles.  “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,” Guy Renard, Director and Program Manager, Directed Energy of Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems told Scout Warrior.

The Navy's Laser Weapon System

The Navy’s Laser Weapon System

The Navy already has a Laser Weapons System (LaWS) that is operational aboard the USS Ponce in the Persian Gulf. The new prototype will incorporate updated hardware and software, as well as lessons learned from previous systems. Dr. Tom Beutner, director of the Air Warfare and Weapons branch, Office of Naval Research, told Scout Warrior, “This system employs multi-spectral target detection and track capabilities as well as an advanced off-axis beam director with improved fiber laser technologies to provide extended target engagement ranges. Improvements of high power fiber lasers used to form the laser beam enable the increased power levels and extended range capabilities.”

Source: Scout Warrior

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