Friday, April 19, 2024

Northrop Grumman delivers mini high-energy laser to U.S. Government

An American multinational aerospace and defense technology company, Northrop Grumman, has announced the delivery of a miniaturized high-energy laser source to the U.S. government.

The 10kW class high-energy laser, known as Phantom, is designed for rapid deployment in tactical settings and is rugged enough to withstand field conditions.

Lasers have always been a topic of interest for the military due to their potential to revolutionize warfare. Their ability to engage targets at lightning-fast speeds and at a relatively low cost of just a dollar per shot is something that has attracted the attention of military officials for years. Until now, the focus has mostly been on developing the laser beam itself – making it powerful enough to be effective, finding ways to lock onto targets, and ensuring that the beam can be controlled over long distances.

However, the usefulness of a laser weapon depends not only on its power and effectiveness but also on its practicality in real-world situations. A bulky and fragile setup would not be practical for military operations, no matter how powerful the laser beam is. It’s important to find a balance between power and convenience when developing laser weapons so that they can be easily transported and used in combat situations.

The Phantom promises to address that. The laser is about 12 cubic feet – nearly the size of a mini fridge – and weighs less than 200 pounds (90.7 kg), enabling lift, carry, and installation by as few as two personnel. Likewise, the Phantom customer will integrate it with other subsystems for testing and delivery to military customers.

“By miniaturizing this advanced capability, we are expanding the reach of our technology and continuing to lead the way in high-energy lasers. Northrop Grumman is using its expertise in directed energy to deliver an extremely compact, lightweight, and efficient laser for the warfighter,” said Robert Fleming, vice president and general manager of strategic space systems at Northrop Grumman, in an official release.

The U.S. government plans to integrate Phantom with other subsystems for further testing before delivering it to military customers. According to the company, this miniaturized laser is designed to defend against various threats, such as unmanned aerial systems, rockets, artillery and mortars, fast attack boats, and missiles. The government’s plan to enhance the technology before deployment shows its commitment to ensuring the safety and protection of the country’s military operations.