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Maritime Laser System Shows Higher Lethality At Longer Ranges


ErnstBlofeld
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ErnstBlofeld
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Space Daily via SPX:

Tests of the U.S. Navy's Maritime Laser Demonstration (MLD) system conducted recently at the Potomac River Test Range confirmed the laser weapon system's readiness to proceed with at-sea testing later this year, according to Northrop Grumman Corporation.
Operating from a fixed site on land, the MLD weapon system fired a laser beam at a number of stationary targets, including representative small boat sections, across the Potomac River, company executives said. The laser burned through small boat sections in these tests, conducted in late August and early September.

"We have shown that the Maritime Laser Demonstrator's design is as lethal at longer ranges as other previously demonstrated approaches," said Steve Hixson, vice president of Advanced Concepts, Space and Directed Energy Systems for Northrop Grumman's Aerospace Systems sector.

"We have optimized the Maritime Laser Demonstrator's design to make it much more lethal at longer ranges while using less laser power than other approaches.

"This means we can defeat threats at longer ranges using less electric power from a ship and with a smaller, more affordable weapon," Hixson noted.

"This successful test series, coupled with the successful shore tracking tests earlier this year, give us confidence that we will be successful at the at sea demonstrator scheduled later this year."

According to Hixson, the MLD laser weapon is based on mature technologies developed through several Defense Department programs, such as the precision tracking system from the Tactical High Energy Laser (THEL), which destroyed some 46 rockets, artillery and mortars in flight.

The MLD laser weapon also features the high-brightness, solid-state laser technology from the Joint High Power Solid State Laser (JHPSSL) program, which was provided by the Office of the Secretary of Defense, High Energy Laser Joint Technology Office, Arlington, Va., and the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command, Huntsville, Ala. Northrop Grumman was the prime contractor for THEL and JHPSSL.

Northrop Grumman is developing MLD for the Office of Naval Research with a goal of demonstrating the readiness of solid-state laser weapon systems to begin transition to the fleet to engage targets that challenge current defensive systems such as swarms of enemy fast patrol boats
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