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  • Lockheed Martin acquires Aculight

Photonics Spectra
Nov 2008
Anne L. Fischer,

BETHESDA, Md. – Global security company Lockheed Martin has acquired Aculight, a Bothell, Wash.-based maker of laser-based solutions for the defense, aerospace and medical industries.

Aculight has four major business areas: countermeasures, laser radar (ladar), high-power directed energy and medical products. Jennifer Allen, communications manager at Lockheed Martin, said Aculight’s capabilities in laser technology, in fiber and solid-state lasers, and in nonlinear optics interested Lockheed Martin for deployment in infrared countermeasures, laser radar and directed energy systems.

The company sees Aculight’s technologies as complementary. As an example, Allen cited Lockheed Martin’s directed energy laser systems – which use ultrashort-pulse, randomly polarized fiber laser and other supporting technologies – and Aculight’s “unique technologies and experience,” which support “the directed energy laser development within Lockheed Martin with … skills such as spectral beam combining and polarized fiber lasers.”

Directed energy applications are used in Lockheed Martin’s warfighter security offerings, including self-protection for manned and unmanned aircraft, ground vehicles and naval vessels.

Now known as Lockheed Martin Aculight, the company manufactures lasers for 3-D imaging; for assisting war fighters in making tactical decisions associated with command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, pilotage, navigation and detailed ground mapping; and for performing targeting functions for precision-guided munitions.

The company’s medical laser products are being developed for use in compact battlefield cautery devices. In addition, it is developing light-based therapies for treating the nerve damage that causes hearing loss in war fighters and veterans.

Aculight employees will remain in Bothell but will become part of Lockheed Martin Maritime Systems & Sensors, which has plans for significant growth for Aculight’s four product groups.

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