REDONDO BEACH, Calif., May 21 (UPI) -- Northrop Grumman has been picked by the U.S. Navy in the first development phase of a prototype laser weapon system.
The value of the contract under the Solid State Laser Technology Maturation program of the Office of Naval Research was not disclosed, nor was the length of the contract.
The Solid State Laser Technology Maturation Program's aim is to develop mature solid-state, high-power laser weapon systems and components for ship defense and open the door for their eventual integration into ship defense systems.
"Lasers provide the Navy a more affordable means of defending ships in harm's way," said Steve Hixson, vice president, directed energy, Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems. "Under this contract, Northrop Grumman will complete a conceptual design for a complete laser weapon system to be integrated onto a destroyer or other suitable surface ship.
"In 2011, Northrop Grumman worked with ONR to demonstrate the first high-energy laser at sea in the Maritime Laser Demonstration. This proved the basic physics and demonstrated that the core technologies were where they needed to be. ONR's selection of Northrop Grumman for this next step will enable us to help the Navy mature the weapon system for use by sailors in the real world."