According to their latest press release, Northrop Grumman is one or two steps closer to having a powerful battlefield laser ready for the troops.
Compact laser weapons powerful enough to perform many basic military missions are getting closer to accompanying U.S. troops wherever they go due to rapid advancements Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) is making in high-energy, solid-state lasers, exemplified by a company-funded laser weapon named Vesta
According to the company the laser is rated to put out 15kW with an indefinite run time with no degredation of beam quality. During their demonstration they achieved beam quality of less than 1.3 times the theoretical diffraction limit.
By comparison, a typical industrial laser for welding would have a beam quality exceeding 20. Weapon system applications typically seek beam qualities of 1.5 to 2. Beam qualities less than 1.5 for high-power lasers are considered outstanding.