Navy orders laser weapon systems from Lockheed Martin

Two systems were ordered, one to be installed for testing on the USS Arleigh Burke, and the other to be used for land-based testing.
By James LaPorta  |  Jan. 29, 2018 at 11:52 AM
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Jan. 29 (UPI) -- Naval Sea Systems Command has awarded Lockheed Martin a contract for the Surface Navy Laser Weapon System.

The deal, announced Friday by the Department of Defense, is valued at more than $150 million under the terms of a cost-plus-incentive-fee contract.

The contract taps Lockheed Martin's Aculight Corp. to develop, manufacture and deliver two test units in fiscal 2020 -- one unit will go to the USS Arleigh Burke, a guided-missile destroyer, while the other will be used for land-based testing, the Pentagon said.

The Laser Weapon System, or LaWS, is a multi-purpose weapon that can be deployed against land, sea and air targets.

The Surface Navy Laser Weapon System Increment 1 High Energy Laser and Integrated Optical-dazzler with surveillance system was initially deployed on the USS Ponce, an amphibious transport ship.

"[The LaWS] is more precise than a bullet," Capt. Christopher Wells, commanding officer of the Ponce, told CNN last year. "It's not a niche weapon system like some other weapons that we have throughout the military where it's only good against air contacts, or it's only good against surface targets, or it's only good against, you know, ground-based targets -- in this case this is a very versatile weapon, it can be used against a variety of targets."

The Ponce was decommissioned in October 2017, and is currently scheduled to be dismantled, with the Surface Navy Laser Weapon System onboard expected to be installed on the USS Portland later this year.

The contract for the new systems includes options that would bring the overall value of the deal to more than $942.8 million.

Work will occur in multiple U.S. states, and is expected to be completed by April 2020.

More than $3.5 million has been obligated to Lockheed at the time of award from Navy fiscal 2018 research, development, testing and evaluation funds. The funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year.

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