"The ultra-precision of high-energy lasers soon may be the pinpoint, measured response that will keep threats a safe distance from U.S. Navy ships. Under a new Navy initiative called the "Maritime Laser Demonstration," Northrop Grumman will apply its solid-state laser systems expertise and successes to demonstrate a laser weapon system to defeat a wide range of current threats. "
Naval forces face a wide range of challenges from small surface craft to advanced aerial threats. New solutions are required to meet these challenges within cost and force structure constraints," said Steve Hixson, vice president of Advanced Concepts - Space and Directed Energy Systems for Northrop Grumman's Aerospace Systems sector. "Northrop Grumman uniquely has proven its expertise in addressing key issues for laser power scaling so that the response meets the level of the threat. We will apply company-wide capabilities, from shipbuilding to systems integration, to meet the Navy's objectives for this program."
The Office of Naval Research, Arlington, Va., has awarded the company an indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for MLD with a ceiling value of $98 million, which has an expected completion date of June 2014. The Navy committed an initial amount of $499,999 through the end of the current government fiscal year that will enable Northrop Grumman to complete the critical design review for this demonstration. Under the contract, Northrop Grumman will demonstrate an innovative laser weapon system suitable for operation in a marine environment and able to defeat small boat threats before the end of 2010."
Now, at last, we can defeat the Somali pirates! I guess the old way of high speed launches and .50 caliber machine guns just wasn't working anymore. I feel so much safer... how about you?