Northrop Grumman and Raytheon have been selected to build prototypes of 50kW-class lasers for integration into the US Army’s Stryker armoured vehicles.
The US Army has awarded an other transaction authority (OTA) agreement to Kord Technologies to serve as the prime contractor for the Maneuver Short-Range Air Defense (M-SHORAD) Directed Energy (DE) mission.
Under the $203m contract, Kord Technologies will integrate 50kW-class laser weapon systems on Stryker combat vehicles.
Kord subsequently awarded laser weapon module subcontracts to Northrop Grumman and Raytheon.
Kord has also partnered with General Dynamics Land Systems, the manufacturer of the Stryker platform, for the integration work.
Northrop Grumman and Raytheon are required to produce the laser subsystems and integrate them onto the Stryker platform. They will then complete a competitive performance checkout before a range demonstration for the M-SHORAD is conducted.
The two vendors will have around one year to complete these tasks.
Northrop Grumman missile defence and protective systems vice-president and general manager Dan Verwiel said: “Northrop Grumman is eager to leverage its portfolio of innovative, proven technologies and integration expertise to accelerate delivery of next-generation protection to our manoeuvre forces.
“Our flexible, open systems approach offers an end-to-end solution for the army’s growing and ever-changing mission requirements in today’s complex threat environment.”
The contract includes the building of a suite of advanced sensors, a 50kW-class laser system, target acquisition and tracking, and battle-tested command-and-control for integration onto the vehicle.
Prototypes are part of the advancement of the Multi-Mission High Energy Laser (MMHEL) initiative that seeks to protect forces from unmanned aerial systems and limited rockets, artillery, and mortar threats.
The laser prototypes are intended to be used on a platoon of four Strykers in the year 2022.
Army Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office (RCCTO) Directed Energy Applications Senior Research Scientist Dr Craig Robin said: “Both the army and commercial industry have made substantial improvements in the efficiency of high energy lasers, to the point where we can get militarily significant laser power onto a tactically relevant platform.
“Now, we are in position to quickly prototype, compete for the best solution, and deliver to a combat unit.”
The army has also invited additional vendors to compete for the same M-SHORAD requirement.