REDONDO BEACH, Calif., Sept. 18 -- Northrop Grumman Corp.'s Space Technology sector will develop the strategic illuminator laser (SILL) for the Missile Defense Agency (MDA), providing a crucial component for systems such as the airborne laser (ABL) and future space-based programs.
The MDA chose Space Technology for Phase 2 of the next generation of illuminator laser under an $18 million, 18-month contract managed by the US Air Force. Northrup Grumman describes the SILL as a four-kilowatt-class, solid-state, pulsed laser with excellent beam quality.
Space Technology performed trade studies and produced a conceptual design for the SILL earlier this year under the contract's first phase. The second phase will demonstrate a full power breadboard and perform the design of the flight-qualifiable laser, the company said, and a third phase will culminate in 2006 with delivery to the government of a rugged, flight-qualifiable laser with a development path for space applications, such as long-range illumination.
This work under the SILL contract complements Space Technology's work on the Joint High Power Solid-State Laser program awarded in December 2002, when the sector won a Joint Technology Office and Air Force contract to develop the high-power, solid-state laser, a program that will result in demonstration at the end of 2004 of a 25-kilowatt electric-powered laser.
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