REDONDO BEACH, Calif., Nov. 9, 2005 (PRIMEZONE) -- A high-energy, solid-state laser developed by Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) for the U.S. military has fired one of the most powerful beams yet produced by an electric laser of more than 27 kW with a run time of 350 seconds.

In posting those achievements, the company said it surpassed the power and run time requirements of the Joint High Power Solid-State Laser (JHPSSL) Phase 2 demonstration program, a military effort to leap frog speed-of-light technology.

In a separate test, the laser demonstrated excellent beam quality at 19 kW, showing how well the beam can be focused and thus get to a target. The JHPSSL program was funded by the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory, Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., and the Office of the Secretary of Defense - Joint Technology Office, Albuquerque.

"The solid-state technology we've demonstrated will serve as the architectural foundation for a whole class of lasers that could be applied throughout much of the U.S. military," said Alexis Livanos, president of Northrop Grumman's Space Technology sector. Potential uses include protective and strike capabilities for ships, manned and unmanned aircraft, and ground vehicles.

"To our knowledge, these achievements make the Northrop Grumman laser the brightest, continuously operating, solid-state laser demonstrated to date," Livanos added.

"Solid-state lasers will add new force protection and joint warfighting capabilities across military services," said Art Stephenson, vice president of Directed Energy Systems at Northrop Grumman Space Technology. "In addition to the JHPSSL success, Northrop Grumman has been leading the development and demonstration of complete laser systems. During the past five years, through the Tactical High Energy Laser program executed in conjunction with the U.S. Army, we've shown the effectiveness of a high-power laser system against a variety of in-flight rockets, artillery and mortars.

"We have also shown that the lethality of a laser results from much more than just the power level. The laser must have good beam quality and a long run time, which are proven hallmarks of our systems. Our solid-state laser approach has been shown to be 'scaleable' to high-power levels without stressing the components. That's why we believe it's time to take high-energy lasers out of the lab and begin integrating them onto the battlefield."

Stephenson noted that Northrop Grumman's low-power, solid-state lasers are being used daily by the U.S. military for target designation and range finding. In addition, a Northrop Grumman solid-state illuminator laser, the Beacon Illuminator Laser - the most powerful solid-state laser on the Airborne Laser (ABL) - is being used for ground testing now. The company is also under contract to build a more capable follow-on illuminator, the Strategic Illuminator Laser, which is only a few years away, he added. Northrop Grumman built the megawatt-class laser for ABL, the Chemical Oxygen Iodine Laser.

Northrop Grumman Space Technology, based in Redondo Beach, Calif., has been developing and demonstrating high-energy lasers for more than 30 years. Space Technology develops a broad range of systems at the leading edge of space, defense and electronics technology. The sector creates products for U.S. military and civilian customers that contribute significantly to the nation's security and leadership in science and technology.

  Northrop Grumman JHPSSL Fact Sheet Follows

                              Fact Sheet

                Joint High Power Solid State Program, Phase 2
                  Northrop Grumman Space Technology

                       Technical Achievements
 JHPSSL Goals                   Northrop Grumman Achievement
 Power Level - 25 kW            Reached 27 kW, operating in steady
                                state (continuous wave)

                                Significance: This was one of the most
                                powerful light beams ever fired from a
                                solid-state laser.

 Run Time - 300 seconds         350 seconds duration

                                Significance: The company's laser
                                demonstrator could have operated
                                much longer. `Run time' measures
                                how long the laser can fire. More
                                time on target increases lethality
                                substantially - and allows more
                                laser `shots' per magazine.
 Beam Quality - 1.5             Demonstrated excellent beam quality
                                of "2" (or two times the diffraction
                                limit) at 19 kW power level and run
                                time of 350 seconds

                                Significance: Beam quality refers
                                to how well the beam can be focused
                                and thus get to a target. A perfect
                                laser beam has a beam quality of
                                "1." By comparison, a typical
                                industrial laser for welding would
                                have a beam quality exceeding "20."

Northrop Grumman's Design

Northrop Grumman's approach utilizes amplifier chains assembled with multiple high-power gain modules. The company's JHPSSL demonstrator used two chains to demonstrate the 27 kW level. The company's scaleable approach can achieve higher power by adding more chains.


The JHPSSL program began in December 2002 by the U.S military to accelerate solid-state laser technology for military uses. Solid-state lasers offer the potential of being compact and suitable to a wide range of applications and platforms.

JHPSSL Phase 1 addressed risk reduction of the technologies necessary to obtain high- power and beam quality simultaneously.

Phase 2 took these technologies and scaled them to greater than 25 kW, and showed further scalability to 100 kW and beyond.

  CONTACT:  Bob Bishop
          Northrop Grumman Space Technology
          (310) 812-5227
          (310) 567-4919 cell