Northrop Grumman to produce shipboard laser weapon system

The U.S. Navy has selected Northrop Grumman to design and produce a ship-based Laser Weapon System Demonstrator.

Under the contract, initially valued at about $53 million with the potential to grow to roughly $91 million if all options are exercised, Northrop Grumman will design and produce a 150-kilowatt laser weapon system to be installed on the U.S. Navy's Self Defense Test Ship, the former USS Paul F. Foster.

"Northrop Grumman is integrating the latest in high energy lasers with more than 40 years of experience as a laser weapon system integrator to protect sailors against last-minute, high impact threats," said Guy Renard, Northrop Grumman's program director for the project. "For about the price of a gallon of diesel fuel per shot, we're offering the Navy a high-precision defensive approach that will protect not only its sailors, but also its wallet."

The laser weapon project will be carried out in three major phases. For Phase 1, the company will develop a detailed design for the system. Phase 2 will consist of assembly and a ground test. For Phase 3, the system will be integrated on the Self Defense Ship for sea-based testing.

Company officials say the project could lead to a system that could provide naval platforms with advanced surface and air-based protection. The U.S. Navy will lead the testing efforts and provide Northrop Grumman with technical support.

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