Northrop Grumman has achieved a milestone in its development of a 300kW class high-energy laser prototype with 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.

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

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

The contract calls for 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 prototype laser at higher powers to establish the design for the beam combiner. A demonstration to prove his design will take place later in the year.

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 are about to demonstrate the technology using our decades of experience in this field.”

Last May, Northrop Grumman secured a full contract to manufacture the US Army’s Common Infrared Countermeasures (CIRCM) system.

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

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