Northrop Grumman Corp. recently tested its newest version of solid-state lasers, which Gizmag’s David Szondy writes marks progress toward practical application of laser weapon systems.
The defense contracting firm tested its Gamma FireStrike laser system May 1 at its Redondo Beach facility.
During the test, the laser burned through and parts of a target drone that was being used to simulate a missile threat to U.S. Navy ships, Northrop explained in a press release.
Gamma uses architecture similar to its previous designs for high-power lasers and operates at 13.3 kilowatts, beaming for 1.5 hours.
Steve Hixson, vice president of advanced concepts, space and directed energy systems, said in the release that Gamma’s packaging and ruggedization for military application builds on previous designs.
The system weighs less than previous versions and is built to emit light in the form of a slab about the size of a microscope slide, Hixson said.
In April, the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments issued a report suggesting that the U.S. pursue more energy and laser weapons.