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1st SSL Weapon Introduced
Nov 2008
REDONDO BEACH, Calif., Nov 13, 2008 -- Defense contractor Northrop Grumman Corp. today introduced the Firestrike, the first solid-state laser (SSL) weapon, designed as a line replaceable unit (LRU) for battlefield applications.

The Firestrike is a 15-kW fieldable laser as well as a combinable LRU building block for much higher power, based on a laser beam combining architecture proven by Northrop Grumman over many years with the Joint High Power Solid State Laser program, Vesta and Vesta II, the company said.Firestrike.jpg
Cutaway view of Northrop Grumman's 15kW Firestrike line replaceable unit. (Image: Northrop Grumman)
"We are ready to deliver on the promise of defense at the speed of light with Firestrike," said Dan Wildt, vice president of Directed Energy Systems for Northrop Grumman's Space Technology sector. "The Firestrike laser power per cubic foot has been greatly enhanced from its successful laboratory predecessors."

"This is a rugged electric laser with power levels, beam quality (nominally 1.5 times the diffraction limit) and runtime suitable for offensive and defensive military utility. Also available is a newly designed laser current source assembly (LCSA), which is compact, and specifically developed to precisely meet Firestrike's power needs. Combined with advanced electro optical and/or infrared sensors, the Firestrike laser can provide self-defense, precision strike and enhanced situational awareness capabilities."

The company said it believes that the Firestrike laser will form the backbone of future laser weapon systems.

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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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