Grumman Corporation’s Space Technology sector
will develop the Strategic Illuminator Laser (SILL) for
the Missile Defense Agency (MDA), providing a crucial component
for systems such as the Airborne Laser (ABL) and future
space-based programs.

The MDA chose Space Technology for Phase 2 of the next generation
of illuminator laser under an $18 million, 18-month contract
managed by the U.S. Air Force. The SILL is a four-kilowatt-class,
solid-state, pulsed laser with excellent beam quality.

“SILL is the next step toward the generation of high-power,
pulsed illuminator lasers,” said Jackie Gish, director of
DE technology for the sector. “Because of SILL’s high power,
excellent beam quality and environmental specifications,
it will yield an enhancement over existing illuminators.
We are very pleased and excited about being chosen for this
important step.”

Space Technology performed trade studies and produced a
conceptual design for the SILL earlier this year under the
contract’s phase one. Two other companies also received
phase one contracts, but Space Technology was the only one
selected for phase two. This phase will demonstrate a full
power breadboard and perform the design of the flight-qualifiable
laser. A third phase will culminate in 2006 with delivery
to the government of a rugged, flight-qualifiable laser
with a development path for space applications, such as
long-range illumination.

The SILL program builds on Space Technology’s legacy of
delivered solid-state lasers, including the Beacon Illuminator
Laser for the ABL and others for the Air Force and the Defense
Advanced Research Projects Agency. The sector delivered
a flight-qualified Beacon Illuminator, containing two-kilowatt-class
solid-state lasers, to the ABL program in 2002.

This work under the SILL contract complements Space Technology’s
work on the Joint High Power Solid-State Laser program awarded
in December 2002, when the sector won a Joint Technology
Office and Air Force contract to develop the high-power,
solid-state laser, a program that will result in demonstration
at the end of 2004 of a 25-kilowatt electric-powered laser.
Northrop Grumman also specializes in fully militarized,
lower-power lasers and has produced and fielded more than
25,000 laser systems, including several that have flown
in space.

Northrop Grumman’s Role in Missile Defense

From detection, to tracking, to engagement, Northrop Grumman
is bringing its entire suite of expertise in systems integration,
high-tech weaponry, and domain knowledge to bear on the
challenge of a layered missile defense capability. The full
spectrum of programs includes prime contractor roles for
the Defense Support Program satellite; the Space Tracking
and Surveillance System (STSS); the Joint National Integration
Center, the Joint Tactical Ground Station, and the Liquid
Booster target program. Northrop Grumman is also leading
teams pursuing MDA’s Kinetic Energy Interceptors program
and the Targets and Countermeasures prime program, and playing
a leading role developing and upgrading the Aegis platform.

Key roles on the Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) program
include the GMD Fire Control/Communications System, the
Command Launch Equipment Command and Control system, the
canister package for the Ground-based Interceptor, and support
for the launch of target vehicles from Vandenberg Air Force

As a leader in chemical lasers, Northrop Grumman is developing
the high-power chemical laser component of the MDA’s Airborne
Laser program and has designed and built the Tactical High
Energy Laser for the U.S. Army and the Israel Ministry of
Defence. Northrop Grumman also provides payloads and mission
processing for SBIRS-High and STSS, support services and
active/passive sensor technology directly to MDA.

Northrop Grumman Space Technology has more than 30 years
experience in the development of high-energy lasers, both
solid-state and chemical.

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