October 9, 2008 Northrop Grumman has delivered the first production-line high-power, solid-state laser to the US Air Force. Called Vesta II, the transportable 15kW device is an add-on to the Joint High Power Solid State Laser (JHPSSL) program and will be used as a "testing device for lethality, atmospheric propagation, long-range imaging and laser weapon applications". The push-button laser is a further step towards the 100kW power level goal set by the U.S. military for combat purposes which will see weapons capable of shooting down rockets and missiles.
"By 'scaling down' the overall architecture of solid-state laser weapons into more compact, easy-to-use systems, we have taken a very large step toward making them more rugged and easier to field," said Dan Wildt, vice president of Directed Energy Systems for Northrop Grumman's Space Technology sector.
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Vesta II is based on Northrop Grumman's original Vesta introduced in 2006, as well as technology it developed for the JHPSSL program.