Northrop Grumman signed a contract with the U.S. Army to deliver a 50-kilowatt laser with solid-state fiber optic features designed to engage targets without the need for constant reloading, Military.com reported Wednesday.
Mark Skinner, vice president for Northrop's directed energy portfolio, said at the Association of the U.S. Army conference in Washington, D.C. that the laser system is less difficult to maintain compared to kinetic platforms. He added that the new weapon can be dialed up or down to defeat drones while retaining energy.
Mike O'Hara, advanced programs manager at Northrop's missile defense and protective systems division, noted that the company also plans to leverage artificial intelligence to further develop its laser technology offerings.
The Army plans to integrate the new system onto its Stryker combat vehicles by fiscal 2022, but Northrop officials expect the weapon to undergo installation activities by 2021.