Lockheed to continue LPLD development for US Missile Defense Agency

31 October 2018 (Last Updated October 31st, 2018 12:17)

Lockheed Martin has received a contract extension from the US Missile Defense Agency to carry on the low power laser demonstrator (LPLD) missile interceptor concept development.

Lockheed Martin has received a contract extension from the US Missile Defense Agency to carry on the low power laser demonstrator (LPLD) missile interceptor concept development.

Valued at $25.5m, the award extension is built on the original nine-month, $9.4m contract awarded to Lockheed in October last year for the development of the initial LPLD concept.

The LPLD concept designed by the company puts a fibre laser system on a high-performing, high-altitude airborne platform.

The system can engage and intercept hostile missiles during their boost phase before it can deploy multiple warheads and decoys or reach top speed.

During the period of the contract modification, Lockheed Martin will be responsible for maturing its LPLD concept to a critical design review phase, which will bring the design to a level that can support full-scale fabrication.

“We are particularly focused on maturing our technology for beam control, the ability to keep the laser beam stable and focused at operationally relevant ranges.”

Lockheed Martin space missile defense programmes vice-president Sarah Reeves said: “We have made great progress on our LPLD design, and in this stage, we are particularly focused on maturing our technology for beam control, the ability to keep the laser beam stable and focused at operationally relevant ranges.

“LPLD is one of many breakthrough capabilities the Missile Defense Agency is pursuing to stay ahead of rapidly evolving threats, and we’re committed to bringing together Lockheed Martin’s full expertise in directed energy for this important programme.”

The company upgrades and modernises its advanced technology through its laser device, beam control capabilities and platform integration, ranging from internal research and development investments in systems that include ATHENA to programmes such as LANCE for the US Air Force Research Laboratory.

Continued production of the laser demonstrator will be carried out until July at the company’s manufacturing facility in Sunnyvale, California, US.