Northrop Grumman and Raytheon are vying to build four 50 kilowatt (kW)-class lasers for US Army Stryker vehicles after the service picked Kord Technologies as the prime contractor for an effort that could top USD490 million.
In July, the service awarded Kord Technologies with a USD203 million contract to deliver 50 kW-class lasers on a platoon of four Stryker vehicles in fiscal year 2022 (FY 2022) as part of its Maneuver-Short Range Air Defense (M-SHORAD) mission. Kord Technologies is currently working with two subcontractors, Northrop Grumman and Raytheon, who will each develop one prototype laser.
“Under the terms of the contract, the two laser vendors have approximately one year to produce the required laser subsystems, integrate them onto the Stryker platform, and complete a competitive performance checkout leading into a range demonstration against various threats,” the service said. After evaluating the results, the service plans to purchase three additional laser-equipped Strykers, for a total of four prototype vehicles with a ceiling value of USD490 million.
General Dynamics Land Systems, which makes the Stryker, is helping with the integration work.
The army’s plan to field the 50 kW-class laser comes after Lieutenant General Neil Thurgood – the army’s director of hypersonics, directed energy, space, and rapid acquisition – oversaw a 45-day review designed to locate ongoing directed energy initiatives and to devise a plan for pulling some out of the science and technology community. In May, the service approved a new strategy for accelerating the rapid prototyping and fielding of several directed energy weapons, including the Multi-Mission High Energy Laser (MMHEL) effort that seeks to integrate a 50 kW-class laser on Stryker.
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