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Northrop Grumman has achieved a milestone in its development of a 300kW class high-energy laser prototype with the completion of the preliminary design review (PDR).

Designed for the US Department of Defense (DoD), the prototype will have an architecture that can be scaled up to more than a megawatt.

The PDR was part of the company’s technical process to ensure its technical design meets the set requirements for a precise, low-cost, speed-of-light technology to support military operations.

The review follows a contract awarded to Northrop Grumman by the DoD last March as part of the High Energy Laser Scaling Initiative (HELSI).

The contract requires a demonstration of the high-energy laser prototype using Northrop Grumman’s beam combining technology.

Under the terms of the contract, the company will test the laser prototype at higher powers to establish the beam combining design. The demonstration to prove its design will be held later in the year.

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By GlobalData

Northrop Grumman Strategic Space Systems vice-president and general manager Robert Fleming said: “This is an important step in the ability to combine high-power laser beams into a single beam that can be scaled for maximum power.

“We’re on track to demonstrate the technology, leveraging our decades of experience in the field.”

Last May, Northrop Grumman secured a full-rate production contract for the US Army’s Common Infrared Countermeasure (CIRCM) system.  

The lightweight laser-based countermeasure system is designed to offer US Army rotary-wing and medium fixed-wing aircraft protection against infrared-guided missiles, shoulder-fired, vehicle-launched and other missile threats.