Northrop Grumman has been awarded a $8m contract to develop a truck-mounted laser for the US Army.

The contract will put Northrop in direct competition with Boeing, who was given a similar contract earlier this year.

Northrop has been asked to develop and complete a “preliminary design of a rugged beam control system” which is capable of destroying rockets, artillery shells and mortars.

The contracts are part of a US Army programme to demonstrate the feasibility of a tactical, mobile high-energy laser weapon, known as RAM projectiles.