TRW to develop electrically powered solid-state laser

TRW has received a $21.3 million contract from the US Air Force Research Laboratory to develop an electrically powered solid-state laser that puts out 25-kilowatts of laser beam power.

The award is part of the Joint High-Power Solid-State Laser (JHPSSL) program that targets demonstration of the laser by the end of 2004.

Military planners are said to see the program as a step on the path to solid-state laser weapons that could be mounted on manned or unmanned aircraft, ships, or ground vehicles.

‘This program will open the door to many new military applications for high-energy lasers, ranging from electronic warfare tasks such as blinding or destruction of enemy sensors to air defence or ship self-defence,’ said Jackie Gish, TRW director of directed energy technology and products.

Gish added that the JHPSSL program will leverage the research and development in solid-state lasers TRW has conducted for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the Air Force and various other government and commercial enterprises as well as TRW’s investment of discretionary resources.

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