Northrop Grumman Laser ‘Firsts’

Laser First


-Maritime Laser Demonstrator completes at-sea tests by successfully conducting 'counter-material' demonstrations against small boat threats, becoming:

­-First Navy laser system to go to sea, installed on a decommissioned Spruanceclass destroyer, for the program’s culminating demonstration;

­-First Navy laser system to be integrated with a ship’s radar and navigation system; and

-First electric laser weapon to be fired at sea from a moving platform. Other tests of solid-state lasers for the Navy have been conducted from land-based positions.


-First ballistic missile intercept by ALTB

-JHPSSL Phase 3 laser system becomes first solid-state laser chosen by U.S. Army for its Solid State Laser Testbed Experiment at the High Energy Laser Test Facility at White Sands Missile Range

-Maritime Laser Demonstrator

-First time a high-energy laser has been fired at-sea from a moving Navy platform against a static, land-based target

-First time a laser system has the lethal capability to perform to the required energy levels from a significant stand-off range

-First time a laser system tracked a small surface target in a sea state up to 3


-JHPSSL exceeds 100kw power level, most powerful beam ever from a solid-state laser; sets run time record for a solid-state laser

-ABL (renamed Airborne Laser Test Bed) team completes long-duration firings of high-energy laser


-ABL industry team demonstrates complete weapon system for first time by firing megawatt-class laser through precision beam steering system

-Northrop Grumman announces FIRESTRIKE, world’s first weaponized solid-state laser for U.S. military services

-Joint High Power Solid State Laser (JHPSSL) sets new records for power, run time and beam quality, reaching 30 kilowatts


-COIL achieves 1st light onboard Airborne Laser aircraft.


-First industry facility dedicated to solid-state, high-energy laser systems production opens at Northrop Grumman's Space Park campus in Redondo Beach, Calif.

-Vesta debuts - a compact, solid-state laser with high-power, excellent beam quality and long run times for multiple military uses (from fixed-site protection to precision strike)

-Strategic Illuminator Laser (SILL) meets all technical performance requirements in tests that prove it's the highest power, brightest continuously pulsed laser of its kind ever built. Funded by the Missile Defense Agency, SILL is a new, diode-pumped, solid-state, next-generation pulsed illuminator laser.


-Joint High Power Solid State Laser (JHPSSL) demonstrator blasts one of the most powerful (more than 27kW), continuously operating (350 seconds), solid-state laser beams ever produced by an electric laser - believed to be the brightest beam ever produced by this technology.


-Missile Defense Agency successfully fires Northrop Grumman-built Chemical Oxygen Iodine Laser, the first megawatt-class laser built for an airborne environment for ABL

-THEL Testbed shoots down mortars - singles and a salvo proving that directed energy can be applied on the battlefield to address current threats

-THEL Testbed destroys a large-caliber rocket carrying a live warhead in-flight - the largest, fastest and highest flying target ever destroyed by a high-energy laser


-Northrop Grumman selected to develop the Strategic Illuminator Laser (SILL) for the Missile Defense Agency (MDA), providing a crucial component for systems such as ABL and future space-based programs.

-Delivery of the brightest flight-qualified kilowatt-class solid state laser - the Beacon Illuminator Laser built for ABL


-First in-flight destruction of an artillery projectile (THEL). By 2004, THEL had recorded 46 successful shoot downs including 28 Katyusha rockets; 5 artillery projectiles; 3 large-caliber rockets; and 10 mortars


-First COIL laser module packaged for flight operations built for the Airborne Laser (ABL)


-First in-flight destruction of salvoed short-range, live artillery rockets (THEL)


-Record output power for mid-IR solid state laser (DARPA/Tri-Service Mid IR II Laser)


-First in-flight destruction of short-range artillery rocket (Nautilus)


-World-record chemical oxygen iodine laser (COIL) efficiencies


-Record brightness for solid state laser in near-infrared


-First megawatt-class laser engineered for space operations (Alpha)


-First megawatt-class chemical laser (MIRACL)


-First shoot down of missile in flight by laser (Navy ARPA Chemical Laser)


-First high energy (>100 kW) chemical laser (Baseline Demonstration Laser)


-High energy laser research begins at Northrop Grumman