Nov. 7 (UPI) -- The Department of Defense on Monday announced a new contract with General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems Group for the Low Power Laser Demonstrator Phase 1 effort.
The deal, worth more than $8.8 million, is a competitive cost-plus-fixed-fee contract that will enable General Atomics to perform the "next step" for the development of the LPLD that addresses "laser power and aperture size by integrating and testing a low power laser on an unmanned aerial vehicle," the Pentagon said in a news release
The MDA Advanced Technology Directorate has said it needs a high-altitude long-endurance unmanned aerial vehicle with sufficient payload capacity to carry a high-energy laser. It would be designed to intercept ICBMs during their boost phase. It has not ruled out a manned platform as well.
Work on the contract will be performed in San Diego, Calif., and Poway, Calif., with an estimated completion date of July 31, 2018.
Fiscal 2017 research, development, test and engineering funds in the amount of $2 million have been obligated at the time of award.