Friday, November 14, 2008

Northrop Grumman Announces the FIRESTRIKE(tm) Laser, World's First Weaponized Solid-State Laser for U.S. Military Services

Northrop Grumman Announces the FIRESTRIKE(tm) Laser, World's First Weaponized Solid-State Laser for U.S. Military Services

REDONDO BEACH, Calif., Nov. 13, 2008 -- Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) today introduced the FIRESTRIKE(tm) laser, a ruggedized, high-energy, solid-state laser designed as a line replaceable unit (LRU) for battlefield applications, ready for order now.

The FIRESTRIKE TM laser LRU system is uniquely designed for scaling high-energy lasers to desired power levels. Each 15kW LRU can be combined with multiple units to fit specific warfighting missions and/or platforms, as pictured above. The result is a flexible "game-changing" military capability with tailored lethality.

The FIRESTRIKE(tm) laser offers warfighters a 15 kilowatt (kW) fieldable laser as well as a combinable LRU building block for much higher power, based on a laser beam combining architecture validated by Northrop Grumman over many years with the Joint High Power Solid State Laser program, Vesta and Vesta II.

"We are ready to deliver on the promise of defense at the speed of light with FIRESTRIKE (tm)," said Dan Wildt, vice president of Directed Energy Systems for Northrop Grumman's Space Technology sector. "The FIRESTRIKE(tm) laser power per cubic foot has been greatly enhanced from its successful laboratory predecessors."

He noted the FIRESTRIKE(tm) laser has been hardened for military uses but also was designed with life-cycle costs and reliability in mind. "FIRESTRIKE(tm) is designed for field operations and simple replacement," Wildt added.

"This is a rugged electric laser with power levels, beam quality and runtime suitable for offensive and defensive military utility. Also available is a newly designed laser current source assembly (LCSA), which is compact, and specifically developed to precisely meet FIRESTRIKE(tm)'s power needs. Combined with advanced electro optical and/or infrared sensors, the FIRESTRIKE(tm) laser can provide self-defense, precision strike and enhanced situational awareness capabilities."

The FIRESTRIKE(tm) laser is a line replaceable system that allows for scaling a laser weapon to desired power levels for specific warfighting applications and platforms. Northrop Grumman believes that FIRESTRIKE(tm) laser will form the backbone of future laser weapon systems.

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.

FIRESTRIKE(tm) Laser Features
  • Power 15kW laser
  • Beam Quality Nominally 1.5 times the diffraction limit
  • Size Laser head - 12" x 23" x 40" (width, depth, height)
  • Current source - 9" x 13" x 30"
  • Runtime Continuous, as long as power and coolant are provided
  • Instant Turn-on Zero to full power in less than 1/2 second
  • Safety Remote operation, customer interlock access, internal safety sensors
  • Control Common Command and Control (C2) systems and Ethernet interfaces
  • Low Power Setting Provides nominally 100 watt alignment beam
  • Weight 400 lbs per LRU
  • Ruggedization Hardened LRUs with compact SSL technology engineered for mobility and field operations

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