Northrop Grumman Corp. has set new industry records in all aspects of high-power solid-state laser production, demonstrating the readiness of these compact, portable, speed-of-light weapons to take their place on the battlefield. The company demonstrated the third critical milestone for the US military’s Joint High Power Solid State Laser (JHPSSL) program, Phase 3. Operating from Northrop Grumman’s one-of-a-kind laser factory, the system:
- Raised its demonstrated lethality by precisely combining two laser chains to produce a record power, 30 kW, in an excellent beam-beam quality of 2.1 times the theoretical limit.
- Operated at this performance level for more than five minutes continuously and more than 40 minutes total; and
- Achieved electrical-to-optical efficiency of greater than 19 percent.
“Our march towards providing compact, electrically powered, operationally scalable and affordable laser weapons for US military services continues to produce world-leading results,” said Dan Wildt, vice president of Directed Energy Systems for Northrop Grumman’s Space Technology sector. “We believe this sets a new solid-state record by simultaneously demonstrating tactically significant power and beam quality for more than five minutes,” stated JHPSSL Phase 3 program manager Jay Marmo.
Just as it had in two previous milestone tests, the company’s JHPSSL Phase 3 laser demonstrated its third milestone ahead of schedule. “We have achieved all our major milestones ahead of schedule as we continue to rev up the power and capability. By demonstrating our ability to combine two identical, modular laser chains into a single, high brightness beam, we have proven all aspects of our scalable design to 100 kW.” The JHPSSL program is funded by the US Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command, Huntsville, AL; Office of the Secretary of Defense – Joint Technology Office, Albuquerque, NM; Air Force Research Laboratory, Kirkland Air Force Base, NM; and the Office of Naval Research, Arlington, VA.