REDONDO BEACH, Calif., Sept. 29, 2008 -- Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) has delivered a compact, standalone, 15kW high-power, solid-state laser developed for the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M.
Called Vesta II, the laser was a sole source add-on to the Joint High Power Solid State Laser (JHPSSL) program contract and leverages Northrop Grumman's scalable technology architecture.
The transportable, push-button laser is a reproducible product that takes advantage of compactness to broaden the potential range of uses by military services. The reduced size, long run time, high beam quality and power level allow for a wide range of use, compared with other military lasers being developed. The modular design enables manufacturing repeatability at Northrop Grumman's laser factory, in turn enhancing reliability and affordability.
"Vesta II is a unique, compact, high-power laser available for laboratory use as a testing device for lethality, atmospheric propagation, long-range imaging and laser weapon applications," said Dan Wildt, vice president of Directed Energy Systems for Northrop Grumman's Space Technology sector. The U.S. military has set a power level goal of 100kW to shoot down rockets, missiles, artillery and mortars, by comparison.
"By 'scaling down' the overall architecture of solid-state laser weapons into more compact, easy-to-use systems, we have taken a very large step toward making them more rugged and easier to field," Wildt added.
Vesta II was accepted in late June by the Optics Division of AFRL's Directed Energy Directorate. The division conducts research to improve optical and imaging systems that enhance the nation's ability to view objects in space and also to put high-energy laser power on-target. The directorate develops high-energy lasers, high-power microwaves and other directed energy technologies for the Air Force and Department of Defense.
A laser weapon that utilizes push-buttons for easy operation, Vesta II is based on Northrop Grumman's original Vesta introduced in 2006, as well as technology it developed for the JHPSSL program. The original Vesta exemplified company-funded efforts to develop reproducible compact laser weapons powerful enough to perform many basic military missions and hasten their battlefield use.
Northrop Grumman has been a leader in developing and demonstrating high-energy lasers for more than 30 years. An online press kit with more information about Northrop Grumman's high-energy, solid-state laser capabilities is available at http://www.st.northropgrumman.com/media/presskits/JHPSSL/press_kit.html .
Northrop Grumman Corporation is a global defense and technology company whose 120,000 employees provide innovative systems, products and solutions in information and services, electronics, aerospace and shipbuilding to government and commercial customers worldwide.
CONTACT: Bob Bishop Northrop Grumman Space Technology 310.812.5227 Cell: 310.251.0261 firstname.lastname@example.org