The U.S. Missile Defense Agency awarded Lockheed Martin a nine-month, $9.4 million contract to develop a Low Power Laser Demonstrator (LPLD) missile interceptor concept, the agency announced Oct. 5.
“Our Low Power Laser Demonstrator 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. “Lockheed Martin has committed millions of dollars to directed energy research and development, laying the groundwork for the laser technology that brings us much closer to an operational system capable of intercepting a missile in its boost phase.”
A missile’s boost phase — the short window after its launch — is the ideal time to intercept and destroy the threat, before it can reach top speed or deploy decoys. The speed and precision of laser systems make them potential options for a future missile defense system.
Lockheed Martin will draw from expertise in laser system architectures, ballistic missile defense system integration, platform integration, optics and beam control for the Low Power Laser Demonstrator program. The company has extensive experience in developing laser systems through both government contracts and internal investments, which reduces risk for its demonstrator program.
As a proven world leader in systems integration and development of air and missile defense systems and technologies, Lockheed Martin delivers high-quality missile defense solutions that protect citizens, critical assets and deployed forces from current and future threats. The company’s experience spans directed energy systems development, missile design and production, hit-to-kill capabilities, infrared seekers, command and control/battle management, and communications, precision pointing and tracking optics, radar and signal processing, as well as threat-representative targets for missile defense tests.