The Navy awarded BAE Systems an initial contract in March to build a demonstrator unit for the Mk 38 Mod 2 Tactical Laser System and Boeing's Directed Energy Systems division will be a subcontractor under the teaming contract.
"Boeing is committed to developing this directed energy system that will significantly enhance ship defense," said Boeing DES Vice President Michael Rinn.
"Combining BAE's engineering expertise with the proven directed-energy proficiency of Boeing's DES division creates a team uniquely qualified to integrate directed-energy technology into the Navy's shipboard armaments."
The Mk 38 Mod 2 Tactical Laser System couples a solid-state, high-energy laser weapon module with the operational Mk 38 Machine Gun System. The addition of the laser weapon module brings high-precision accuracy against surface and air targets such as small boats and unmanned aerial vehicles.
The system also provides the ability to deliver different levels of laser energy, depending on the target and mission objectives.
Boeing and BAE Systems have been working together for two years to develop this capability. In 2010, Boeing DES conducted two experiments in the field to demonstrate the system's ability to track surface targets and maintain a laser aim point with high precision.
"The Mk 38 Mod 2 system is revolutionary because it combines kinetic and directed energy weapons capability," said Rinn. "Our approach is an affordable solution for the customer because this system can be integrated seamlessly into existing shipboard command interfaces."