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  • Textron Pens $21M Deal
Dec 2008
WILMINGTON, Mass., Dec. 5, 2008 – Textron Defense Systems (TDS), an operating unit of Textron Systems, announced that it has signed an Other Transaction Agreement (OTA) with DARPA that will provide up to $21 million in government funding to design, fabricate and test a unit cell module for a 150-kW laser weapon system (LWS) and develop a critical design for the weapon.

Supporting TDS is Textron Systems’ Advanced Solutions Center, which has based its design upon its proprietary ThinZag Ceramic solid-state laser technology and a preceding company-funded conceptual design. The LWS must meet DARPA’s aggressive weight, volume, beam quality, and runtime requirements for the High Energy Liquid Laser Area Defense System (HELLADS) program.

“Our successes with prior phases of the HELLADS program have enabled our continued and enthusiastic involvement with this important DARPA project,” says Textron Systems’ John Boness, chief technical officer and vice president of applied technology. “To satisfy DARPA’s demanding HELLADS requirements for practical, compact, lightweight systems that can be used on military platforms; we first had to thoroughly understand the basic physics phenomenology governing the performance and scalability of high power solid-state laser systems. Understanding the physics allows our scientists and engineers to simplify the engineering and thus create innovative systems solutions to accelerate the deployment of practical directed energy weapons to the warfighter.”

The Advanced Solutions Center has pioneered high power laser research and development since the 1960s and develops solid-state laser concepts to provide troops with compact, affordable and rugged directed energy weapon systems capable of withstanding the most severe operational and environmental battlefield conditions. DARPA’s most recent funding recognizes the company’s continued success and leadership in developing high energy lasers for military applications.

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The technology of generating and harnessing light and other forms of radiant energy whose quantum unit is the photon. The science includes light emission, transmission, deflection, amplification and detection by optical components and instruments, lasers and other light sources, fiber optics, electro-optical instrumentation, related hardware and electronics, and sophisticated systems. The range of applications of photonics extends from energy generation to detection to communications and...
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