Military Embedded Systems

Surface ship laser weapon technology to be developed by Northrop Grumman


May 22, 2013

John McHale

Editorial Director

Military Embedded Systems

REDONDO BEACH, CA. U.S. Navy officials chose Northrop Grumman Corp. for the initial phase of the Solid State Laser Technology Maturation (SSL-TM) program -- a research and development project for maturing solid-state, high-power laser weapon systems and components for Navy ship defense.

This is the Office of Naval Research's (ONR's) step in developing of a Prototype Laser Weapon System. The effort will enable a future Navy program to integrate laser weapon systems on existing and future ships.

Lasers area more cost-effective means of defending ships in harm's way, says Steve Hixson, vice president of directed energy at Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems. Under the contract, Northrop Grumman will finish a conceptual design for a complete laser weapon system to be integrated onto a destroyer or other suitable surface ship, he continues. Northrop Grumman and ONR demonstrated the first high-energy laser at sea in the Maritime Laser Demonstration, which proved the basic physics and demonstrated that the core technologies were where they needed to be, Hixson adds. "That means addressing engineering challenges such as reliability and ship integration, and showing we can do so affordably."


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