Northrop Grumman has announced the delivery of its “Phantom” miniaturized high-energy laser weapon to the US government.
The size of a mini-refrigerator, the 10-kilowatt laser is designed for rapid deployment in tactical situations.
According to the company, the US government will integrate the weapon with other subsystems for testing and delivery to the armed forces.
“Northrop Grumman is using its expertise in directed energy to deliver an extremely compact, lightweight, and efficient laser for the warfighter,” Northrop vice president Robert Fleming explained.
Weighing less than 200 pounds (90 kilograms), the Phantom can be carried, installed, and operated by two military personnel.
It can defend critical infrastructure from various threats, including enemy drones, rockets, artillery, and mortars.
The laser can also support air-to-surface missions, particularly against missiles and fast attack boats.
“By miniaturizing this advanced capability, we are expanding the reach of our technology and continuing to lead the way in high-energy lasers,” Fleming stated.
Investments in Laser Weapons
The US military has been increasingly interested in laser weapons because they can engage targets at much higher speeds.
According to the US Government Accountability Office, the Pentagon spends almost $1 billion per year on developing directed energy weapons.
In 2022, Lockheed Martin delivered its highest-powered 300-kilowatt electric laser to the US Department of Defense.
The company later announced that it would upgrade the weapon to a new benchmark: 500 kilowatts.
The US Army also awarded BlueHalo a $46-million contract to develop a 20-kilowatt high-energy laser to mount on Infantry Squad Vehicles.