Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems of Los Angeles received a two-year, $8.8 million contract from the U.S. Army to continue development and increase the efficiency of a solid-state laser for military applications, according to a Sept. 28 Northrop Grumman press release.

Army Space and Missile Defense Command’s Robust Electric Laser Initiative (RELI) is a follow-on to a laser program Northrop Grumman completed in 2009. Under the RELI program, the company will seek to increase the efficiency of its laser system to 30 percent and repackage it to possibly fit on a military platform. The 25-kilowatt system could be scaled up to 100 kilowatts, generally considered the minimum power needed for such military purposes as destroying incoming mortar rounds and rockets.

Northrop Grumman’s contract includes options that could increase its value to $53.3 million over five years, the press release said.