EMERGING TECHNOLOGIES

Weapons Grade Laser Validated in Military Test

7/1/2009
By Robert H. Williams
Scientists and engineers have scored a first in achieving more than 105 kilowatts of electric light ray intensity in the final demonstration milestone of the military’s Joint High Power Solid State Laser Program, Phase 3.

A level of 100 kilowatts is considered the gateway for weapons grade lasers.

“Our modular JHPSSL design makes it straightforward to scale laser weapons to mission-required power levels for a variety of uses to include force protection and precision strike missions for air, sea and land-based platforms,” says Dan Wildt, vice president for directed energy systems for Northrop Grumman’s Aerospace Sector in Redondo Beach, Calif.

This power scaling, Wildt says, is “one of the game-changing features of high energy lasers because it allows graduated responses by U.S. military services appropriate for whatever level of threat they may face. Threats vary, and so should the response.”

The scalable approach means Northrop Grumman could increase laser weapon power to 125 kilowatts via its current approach.

Topics: Test and Evaluation

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