April 1, 2020
By George I. Seffers
National Institute of Standards and Technology researchers have developed a new photonic sensor that could prove beneficial for growing human tissue—skin, muscle, bones or internal organs—in the laboratory. The device might ultimately be implanted in the body to monitor reactions to organ or tissue transplants.  Images by Jennifer Lauren Lee/NIST and Shutterstock. Edited by Chris D’Elia

A new, highly precise photon sensor could help advance the science of growing human tissue, such as bones, skin or vital organs, in the laboratory and could benefit warfighters and society. The potential applications include monitoring environmental conditions, such as poison gases on the battlefield or toxins in the home.

March 10, 2020

Lockheed Martin Corp., Baltimore, Maryland, is awarded a $22,436,852 letter contract for the integration, demonstration, testing and operation of the Layered Laser Defense (LLD) weapon system prototype onboard a Navy littoral combat ship while that vessel is underway. Work will be performed in Moorestown, New Jersey (30%); Baltimore, Maryland (25%); Sunnyvale, California (12%); Woodinville, Washington (10%); Manassas, Virginia (5%); Dallas, Texas (15%); San Diego, California (2%); and Santa Cruz, California (1%).

December 6, 2019

Raytheon Co. Space and Airborne Systems, McKinney, Texas, has been awarded a $13,121,979 modification (P00002) to previously awarded agreement FA8650-19-9-9326 for High Energy Laser Weapon Systems (HELWS). This modification provides for the purchase of one additional HELWS being produced under the basic agreement, including outside continental U.S.

September 17, 2019
By Kimberly Underwood
The Air Force Special Operations Command's (AFSOC’s) development of a 60-kW laser weapon system is on track, says AFSOC’s new commander, Lt. Gen. James Slife (l), at the Air Force Association’s Air, Space and Cyber Conference yesterday.

In a world where a swarm of drones can take out an oil production (WC) system, the military needs advanced tools, including lasers to defeat asymmetric threats. For the past few years, the U.S.

September 3, 2019

General Dynamics Information Technology Inc., Fairfax, Virginia, has been awarded a $30,837,185 face value cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for bioeffects research of directed energy effects. This contract provides for research on directed energy systems to assist in transitioning Department of Defense technologies. Work will be performed at Joint Base San Antonio, Fort Sam Houston, Texas, and is expected to be complete by November 28, 2025. This award is the result of a competitive acquisition and three offers were received. Fiscal 2019 research and development funds in the amount of $250,000 will be obligated at the time of award.

September 27, 2018
By Kimberly Underwood
Appearing at the Modern Day Marine industry-related exhibits, Boeing’s compact laser weapon system is shown mounted on OshKosh Defense’s joint light tactical vehicle (JLTV). Credit: Kimberly Underwood

This summer, the U.S. Marine Corps accepted delivery of five compact laser weapon systems, and is now considering many aspects of the weapon’s functionality. The service is looking for reliable, cost effective protection against the growing threat of unmanned aerial vehicles.

September 7, 2018
Posted by Kimberly Underwood
The Missile Defense Agency (MDA) continues its development of low-power lasers for use on MDA-configured MQ-9 Reapers from General Atomics. Photo credit: General Atomics

The Missile Defense Agency has funded a second investment in an airborne low-power laser for missile defense. In some cases, it has increased initial funding levels by more than 200 percent with its August 31 contract award modifications to the Boeing Co., General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems and Lockheed Martin Corp.

The three companies are pursuing aspects of the agency’s development of a low-power laser weapon for use on an aircraft—such as an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV)—and in conjunction with the Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS).

August 15, 2018

UES Inc, Dayton, Ohio, has been awarded a $49,057,000 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity, cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for research and development associated with the Flash and Laser Airborne Protection System program. The contract is for exploratory and advanced research and development of materials and technologies to control, manipulate, and protect against photonic energy. Research involved in the processing, structure, properties and performance of photonic materials will provide a means to mature and transition the highest priority products needed by the Air Force.

March 1, 2018
By Kimberly Underwood
Under the High-Energy Laser and Integrated Optical-dazzler with Surveillance (HELIOS) program, the Navy is swiftly pursuing laser weapons for use on surface ships. The technology will combine the lethality of a laser weapon with surveillance capabilities and an integrated optical dazzler, a non-lethal device that disables sensors or humans visually. Photo Credit: Lockheed Martin, artist rendering of Lockheed Martin’s HELIOS System

The U.S. Navy’s first-of-its kind high-energy laser weapon contract will supply one 60-150 kilowatt system for an Arleigh-Burke class ship, the DDG 51 Flight IIA, and another as a land-based test unit. The award of the $150 million contract, to Lockheed Martin Corp. in late January, signals the move of laser weaponry from science and technology research to fielding and use on Naval ships. In a highly competitive field against three other companies bidding on the contract, Lockheed Martin was not able to discuss the award until now.

March 1, 2018
By Kimberly Underwood
3-D metal printing is breaking the mold of traditional manufacturing designs. Credit: Optisys

The combination of so-called additive manufacturing, or 3-D printing, electromagnetic simulation and mechanical design software is enabling innovative antenna and radio-frequency components. Engineers are harnessing these tools to design, fabricate, test and manufacture lightweight, highly complex antennas and radio-frequency products.

February 13, 2018

Longbow LLC, Orlando, Florida, was awarded an $8,846,716 modification (P00050) to contract W31P4Q-16-C-0035 for laser and longbow Hellfire engineering services. Work will be performed in Orlando, Florida; Ocala, Florida; and Anniston, Alabama, with an estimated completion date of February 12, 2019. Fiscal 2016, 2017 and 2018 other procurement (Army); and operations and maintenance (Army) funds in the combined amount of $8,846,716 were obligated at the time of the award. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, is the contracting activity.

January 1, 2018
By Kimberly Underwood
The Navy is adding high-energy lasers to the fleet aboard the DDG 51 Flight IIA “in the shortest time frame possible,” says a Naval Sea Systems Command spokesperson.

The U.S. Navy has identified laser weapons as an urgent capability need, and after many years of development, it is moving rapidly to deploy advanced laser capabilities in the near term to the fleet. The Navy is pursuing the highest-powered lasers, beginning with 60-kilowatt systems and aiming for 150-kilowatt-class systems, to be used on guided missile destroyers. Through its Program Executive Office Integrated Warfare Systems, the Navy would be the first service to have a program of record for laser energy weapons.

January 30, 2018
By Kimberly Underwood
The USS Ponce (second ship in the foreground) once carried the first laser weapon demonstrator. Now the Navy will begin fielding a laser weapon and optic dazzler for for its Naval Sea Systems Command aboard a DDG  51 FLT IIA by 2020.

The U.S. Navy took an important step forward in putting high-energy laser weapons into the fleet in awarding Bothell, Washington-based Lockheed Martin Aculight Corp.

January 1, 2018
By Kimberly Underwood
Laser weapons could be integrated into all future Marine Corps vehicles, such as the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle, or JLTV, says Jeff Tomczak, deputy director of the Science & Technology (S&T) Division at the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory. Oshkosh Defense

U.S. Marine Corps operations are demanding. Weapons need to be ruggedized and mobile for quick assaults. And high-energy laser weapons such as those the Navy is developing will be large and draw high levels of power. For the Marines to be able to employ these laser weapons, the technologies must be as efficient and as small as possible, says Jeff Tomczak, deputy director of the Science & Technology (S&T) Division at the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory.

For lasers—and really all weapon systems—in Marine Corps applications, the focus primarily is to make capabilities as light and as expeditionary as possible. Tomczak emphasizes that weapon size matters when warfighters have to get gear ashore.

December 11, 2017
By using laser-generated, hologram-like 3-D images flashed into photosensitive resin, researchers can build complex parts in a fraction of the time of traditional layer-by-layer printing. Credit: Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

By using laser-generated, hologram-like 3D images flashed into photosensitive resin, researchers at Lawrence Livermore National Lab (LLNL), along with collaborators at UC Berkeley, the University of Rochester and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), have discovered they can build complex 3-D parts in a fraction of the time of traditional layer-by-layer printing, according to an LLNL press release.

The novel approach is called “volumetric” 3-D printing, and is described in the journal Science Advances, published online on December 8.

October 6, 2017

The U.S. Missile Defense Agency tapped Lockheed Martin to develop a low power laser demonstrator (LPLD) missile interceptor technology. Under a nine-month, $9.4 million contract, Lockheed examine the use of its beam control concept demonstrator on an airborne platform to destroy missiles during the boost phase. "Our LPLD concept puts advanced beam control systems and a fiber laser on a high-performance, high-altitude platform to maximize risk reduction value over the demonstration period,” said Sarah Reeves, director in Strategic and Missile Defense programs at Lockheed Martin.

August 22, 2017

Northrop Grumman Systems Corporation, Apopka, Florida, has been awarded a $12,439,451 firm-fixed-price, sole-source contract for Army-related laser range finders. The 14-month base contract includes one 14-month option period. Deliveries will begin 360 days after award. Location of performance is Florida, with a June 7, 2019, performance completion date. Type of appropriation is fiscal year 2017 defense working capital funds. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Land and Maritime, Warren, Michigan (SPRDL1-17-C-0200).

December 16, 2016

The Boeing Co., St. Louis, has been awarded an estimated $90 million indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for laser pod research and development. The contractor will provide research and development of high-energy laser technologies. Work will be performed in St. Louis and is expected to be completed by December 15, 2021. This award is the result of a competitive acquisition, with four offers received. Cost-plus-fixed-fee completion task order FA9451-17-F-0001 also was awarded under this contract for $35,728,551. Fiscal 2017 research, development, test and evaluation funds in the amount of $5 million are being obligated at the time of the award.

December 12, 2016

Stellar Science, Albuquerque, New Mexico, has been awarded a $7,034,747 cost-reimbursement contract for Advanced Laser Modeling and Simulation. Contractor will develop advanced laser system modeling and simulation capabilities. Work will be performed at Albuquerque, New Mexico, and is expected to be complete by December 13, 2021. This award is the result of a competitive acquisition with five offers received. Fiscal 2017 research, development, test and evaluation funds in the amount of $150,000 are being obligated at the time of award. The Air Force Research Laboratory, Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico, is the contracting activity (FA9451-17-C-0089).

August 24, 2016

Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems, Redondo Beach, California, has been awarded a $39,339,172 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for Self-Protect High Energy Laser Demonstrator (SHiELD) Turret Research in Aero-Effects (STRAFE) program. Contractor will develop and deliver an advanced beam control system for integration as part of a complete laser weapons system into a tactical pod on an Air Force fighter aircraft. STRAFE will increase the knowledge and understanding of aero-optic disturbances in a supersonic environment by collecting data during engagement scenarios.