WASHINGTON – Mynaric, a manufacturer of laser communications equipment, announced Nov. 1 it was selected by Northrop Grumman as a strategic supplier.

The partnership with top Pentagon contractor Northrop Grumman is significant for Germany-based Mynaric, which has been making moves in the U.S. market, particularly in the government and defense sectors.

“The U.S. government is the driving force to deploy laser communication capabilities in space,” Mynaric CEO Bulent Altan, said in a statement. 

The company said the agreement gives Northrop Grumman “assured and preferred access” to Mynaric products and services, and estimates Northrop Grumman will buy a minimum of $35 million worth of equipment over five years. 

Northrop Grumman selected Mynaric in a competitive bidding process. Mynaric said it submitted bids “with a combined value in the mid-double digit millions” for a number of Northrop Grumman government space programs. 

Mynaric said Northrop Grumman will “kick-start the new relationship” by purchasing CONDOR Mk3 optical communications terminals for satellites that provide data rate speeds of between 100 megabits per second to 100 gigabits per second.

Under the agreement, Mynaric and Northrop Grumman will jointly develop and offer laser communication solutions for U.S. government space programs, the company said. “Mynaric will exclusively develop and sell custom products to Northrop Grumman for this specific market segment.”

Robert Fleming, vice president for strategic and business development at Northrop Grumman Space Systems, said laser communication is “becoming a strategic must-have for a wide array of government programs” as demand grows for secure space-based communications. 

Mynaric makes laser communications terminals for air, space, ground, maritime, and undersea platforms but the “near-term emphasis is on the space arena for the U.S. government’s needs and missions,” the company said. 

Over the past year Mynaric has been expanding its presence in the United States, with operations in Los Angeles and an office in Washington D.C.

In the U.S. military market, Mynaric already has a foot in the door as its optical terminals were selected by Telesat for satellites that will be flown as part of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s Blackjack program. 

The company this summer opened a new production facility near Munich, Germany, focused on laser communication equipment for the aerospace sector. Mynaric is a publicly traded company in Germany and last month filed a registration statement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for a proposed initial public offering to be publicly traded in the United States. 

Mynaric recently hired former SpaceX executive Hans Koenigsmann as a member of the company’s supervisory board, the equivalent of a board of directors. 

Sandra Erwin writes about military space programs, policy, technology and the industry that supports this sector. She has covered the military, the Pentagon, Congress and the defense industry for nearly two decades as editor of NDIA’s National Defense...