Friday, November 25, 2022

U.S. Missile Defense Agency wants a new 1,000 kilowatt-class laser weapons

The U.S. Missile Defense Agency is looking for information on a 1,000 kW-class electrically-pumped laser for defending the United States, its deployed forces, allies, and friends against all ranges of enemy ballistic missiles in all phases of flight.

The post on the federal business opportunities website is asking industry for information on a capability to demonstrate a 1,000 kW-class electrically-pumped laser in the 2025-26 timeframe.

Missile Defense Agency does not provide a specific platform or strategic mission at this time. The proposed ground demonstrator laser system would be designed to have technology maturation and lightweight engineering paths to potential future platforms.


According to Pentagon’s moted, the Ballistic Missile Defense System architecture will consist of weapons, sensors, command and control, battle management, communications, and integrating functions that provide, to any Combatant Command, a rapidly deployable missile defense system which will defeat ballistic missiles of all types and ranges while in all phases of flight.

In parameters of interest, the Missile Defense Agency indicated:

Laser Performance Parameter Goals

  • Near diffraction-limited beam quality at laser power ≥ 1,000 kW with a goal of vertical beam quality of 1.1 at 0.25 lambda/D. Laser wavelength (lambda) shorter than one micron is desirable to offer higher intensity on target at long range.
  • Laser system mass efficiency of 2 to 4 kg/kW. The laser system is defined as including the laser device and the electric power and thermal management subsystems. The 1,000 kW-class ground demonstrator laser system may have lower mass efficiency (higher kg/kW) as long as the respondent has a clearly defined path to increase mass efficiency to 2 to 4 kg/kW.
  • High laser device electrical-to-optical efficiency with a goal of 48% or better.
  • Laser shot durations from 2 to 60 seconds continuous.
  • An energy storage system capable of ≥ 120 seconds of full power laser runtime without recharging.

The U.S. Missile Defense Agency requests high power laser solutions which feasibly could lead to a laser scaling ground demonstrator that could destroy an enemy ballistic missile during the boost phase of flight.

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About this Author

Dylan Malyasov
Defense journalist and commentator. Aviation photographer. Dylan leads Defence Blog's coverage of global military news, focusing on engineering and technology across the U.S. defense industry.