MDA Awards Contracts for UAV-based Laser Designs

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Lockheed Martin, General Atomics, and Boeing were all awarded contracts by the U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA) worth around $9 million to create preliminary designs for a “UAV-based, multi-kilowatt-class laser to demonstrate beam stabilization technology.” The Low Power Laser Demonstrator program formally began in 2015, and, according to MDA Director Lt. Gen. Samuel Greaves, seeks to “develop and demonstrate directed-energy and laser technologies that could be integrated into the Ballistic Missile Defense System.” The demonstrator program consists of a UAV capable of flying at high altitudes containing a tracking laser, a defensive laser, and a beam-control system. Design and testing is likely to continue at least for the next five years to develop laser technology that could potentially destroy ballistic missiles in the boost phase.