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Navy taps Northrop Grumman for laser weapon system

By
James LaPorta
Afloat Forward Staging Base USS Ponce conducts an operational demonstration of the Office of Naval Research-sponsored Laser Weapon System. Photo courtesy of U.S. Navy.
Afloat Forward Staging Base USS Ponce conducts an operational demonstration of the Office of Naval Research-sponsored Laser Weapon System. Photo courtesy of U.S. Navy.

March 8 (UPI) -- Northrop Grumman was awarded a contract from the U.S. Navy for services in support of the Solid State High Power Laser Weapon System Demonstrator program.

The deal, announced Wednesday by the Department of Defense, is valued at more than $21.5 million under the terms of a cost-plus fixed fee contract, which is a modification to a previous award.

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The modified contract brings the total cumulative value to more than $144.9 million, according to the Defense Department.

The Solid State High Power Laser Weapon System Demonstrator or LWSD program over the past few years has sought to development, test and field a shipboard laser weapon for surface warfare ships.

The main objective of developing the warfare laser is to disable or destroy enemy ships, unmanned aerial vehicles or surveillance sensors.

The original laser prototype was installed on the USS Ponce, an Austin-class amphibious transport dock surface ship that was decommissioned in October 2017.

Work on the contract will occur in Redondo Beach, Calif., and is expected to be complete August 2017.

More than $14.9 million will be obligated to Northrop Grumman at time of award from Navy fiscal 2017 research, development, test and evaluation funds.

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The Pentagon said in a press release that none of the obligated funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year.

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