Northrop and Raytheon to Compete Stryker Vehicle High Energy Laser Initiative
Northrop and Raytheon to Compete Stryker Vehicle High Energy Laser Initiative

Northrop and Raytheon to Compete Stryker Vehicle High Energy Laser Initiative

The U.S. Army will test 50-kilowatt directed-energy laser weapons built by Northrop Grumman and Raytheon from Stryker combat vehicles from the third quarter of fiscal 2021. This prototype will deliver 50 kilowatt (kW)-class lasers on a platoon of four Stryker vehicles in Fiscal Year 2022, supporting the Maneuver-Short Range Air Defense (M-SHORAD) mission. The directed energy M-SHORAD capability is intended to protect maneuvering Brigade Combat Teams from unmanned aerial systems (UAS), rotary-wing aircraft, and rockets, artillery and mortar (RAM). In the operational construct, there is a mix of kinetic killers and directed-energy killers. The directed energy M-SHORAD prototypes are part of the progression of an Army technology maturation initiative known as the Multi-Mission High Energy Laser (MMHEL).

The U.S. Army’s Directed-Energy Maneuver-Short Range Air Defense (M-SHORAD) will be firing lasers from vehicles starting next year. On July 26 last year, the service issued a contract award to accelerate the rapid prototyping and fielding of its first combat-capable laser weapon system. Northrop and Raytheon were both awarded Other Transaction Authority (OTA) agreement valued $203 million that includes Kord Technologies as the prime contractor. After the Army evaluates the results, it plans to purchase three additional laser-equipped Strykers, for a total of four prototype vehicles that would be fielded to an operational M-SHORAD platoon in Fiscal Year 2022. The OTA award has the potential to increase to $490 million for the delivery of the four prototypes.

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Under the initiative from the Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office and a contract from Kord Technologies, Northrop Grumman will build and integrate a suite of advanced sensors; target acquisition and tracking; a 50-kilowatt class laser system; and battle-tested command-and-control on an Army Stryker combat vehicle. The effort will culminate in a competitive performance checkout leading into a range demonstration that informs M-SHORAD requirements. The directed energy M-SHORAD prototypes are part of the progression of an Army technology maturation initiative known as the Multi-Mission High Energy Laser (MMHEL). The M-SHORAD directed energy prototyping initiative is managed by the U.S. Army Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office, Redstone Arsenal, Alabama.

A 5 kilowatt laser sits on a Stryker armored vehicles called the Mobile Expeditionary High Enegry Laser (MEHEL), during the Maneuver Fires Integrated Experiment (MFIX) at Fort Sill, April 5. The Army just awarded a contract for 50kW prototypes.
A 5 kilowatt laser sits on a Stryker armored vehicles called the Mobile Expeditionary High Enegry Laser (MEHEL), during the Maneuver Fires Integrated Experiment (MFIX) at Fort Sill, April 5 2019. The Army just awarded a contract for 50kW prototypes. (Monica K. Guthrie/ U.S. Army)
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