NAVY

Northrop wins next phase of laser weapon work

Northrop Grumman has won a $91 million contract to continue development a laser weapon for the Navy.

The company won a $53 million contract for the Solid State High Power Laser Weapon System Demonstrator program. With options it could rise to $91 million.

Defense Systems reported that the Navy is banking on improvements in laser power, beam quality, beam director architecture and other features for the new system.

Last year, the Navy deployed a laser weapon system on the USS Ponce in the Persian Gulf. It produces 30-kilowatts, but they eventually want the laser system to reach up to 100 or 150 kilowatts.

According to the Defense Department website, six companies bid on the contract.

Northrop has been working on laser weapon systems for more than a decade. In 2005, it won a $142 million laser system that was part of a missile defense project.

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