Maritime Laser Demonstrator


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21 April 2009
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Form Aerospace and Defense News:

NGC Maritime Laser Clears Design Hurdles ASDNews: Feb 1, 2010

(Redondo Beach, Calif., January 29, 2010) -- The Maritime Laser Demonstration (MLD) system being developed by Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) has passed two milestone reviews by the Office of Naval Research, which point to the real potential of the MLD weapon system design.

Representatives from the U.S. Navy, U.S. Army and the High Energy Laser Joint Technology Office conducted a critical design review and critical safety review of the MLD at the Dahlgren Naval Surface Warfare Center in Dahlgren, Va.

"These reviews indicate that our MLD design should meet the Navy's objectives in future demonstrations," said Steve Hixson, vice president of Advanced Concepts - Space and Directed Energy Systems for Northrop Grumman's Aerospace Systems sector. "Next we will finalize detailed test plans and move into land-based, live fire tests."

Northrop Grumman will conduct an at-sea demonstration of this revolutionary capability, according to Dan Wildt, vice president, Directed Energy Systems. "We will prove that the pinpoint accuracy and response capability of our MLD system can protect Navy ships and personnel by keeping threats at a safe distance. We will accomplish this while leveraging technologies with proven scalability that may ultimately enable addressing additional threats of interest to the Navy."
Seems to be a solid state laser, so electrically driven. Yet another power hungry DE weapon so development work for DDX electric drive/ship systems will be critical moving forward, but MLD seems to be aimed as a retrofit to existing ships against small boat threats. Where are you going to get the necessary power for that if the propulsion plants aren't expected to be retrofitted? Some sort of gas turbine generator pack? Trickle charge flywheel? Trickle charge ultracapacitor like EESTOR? Maybe something exotic like flux compression generators (though that would put you back into the realm of explosive ammunition/fuel)?

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