The big leaps in solid-state laser technology have been made through the U.S. military's JHPSSL program and Northrop Grumman's work to package and ruggedize that technology. Lasers are ready for deployment now for land-based and ship-based systems for defensive purposes based on that technology. Military services are taking steps to transition technology from the laboratory to war fighters.
Gamma is the first product in Northrop Grumman's next generation FIRESTRIKE™ family of high-energy, solid-state lasers that meet goals for size and weight reduction and ruggedization for operational applications. Initial testing of the company-funded laser was completed in April 2012.
The U.S. military says that Northrop Grumman created the gold standard for high-power, solid-state laser systems with its Joint High Power Solid State Laser system. Since becoming the first to reach the 100-kilowatt power level threshold for a solid-state laser in 2009, the company has continued to push JHPSSL's performance parameters.
The Maritime Laser Demonstration was a fast-turnaround project with complex technology that showed high-power, solid-sate lasers can successfully defend Navy ships from small boat threats. Leveraging JHPSSL technology, the company went from contract award to demonstrating a revolutionary Navy ship defensive capability in just 21 months.
Under a new DoD program called the Robust Electric Laser Initiative (RELI), Northrop Grumman will leverage its high-energy solid-state laser successes to advance electric laser technology for the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command. The result will enable next-generation laser weapons applications for all services and agencies.
Northrop Grumman has a lead role in integrating and operating the Army's Solid State Laser Testbed Experiment (SSLTE) at the High Energy Laser Test Facility at White Sands Missile Range. The company's 105-kw solid-state laser forms the SSLTE's core element.
Funded by the Missile Defense Agency, Strategic Illuminator Laser (SILL) is a diode-pumped, solid-state, next-generation illuminator laser.
Expected to greatly shorten the timeline for lasers to go from the laboratory onto the battlefield, Vesta's critical features are high power, excellent beam quality, and long run time — all packaged into a compact laser device that represents significant reductions in size and in the weight of the laser from previous systems.