DoD, Three Firms in Talks Over Electric Laser Demonstration Contracts; Thomas Karr Quoted

Thomas Karr
Thomas Karr

Thomas Karr, assistant director of directed energy at the Department of Defense, has said DoD is negotiating separate contracts with three companies regarding the development of electrically powered laser models, Breaking Defense reported Monday.

He told Breaking Defense in an interview the department aims to test the power capacity of demonstrators powered by semiconductor diodes and other commercial technology.

"We want to have a 300-kilowatt laser by 2022. We’d like to get up to 500 kilowatts by 2024," Karr added.

The report noted that two demonstration models will use fiber-optic cables to generate and combine light beams into a single blast, while the third model will utilize small lasers to produce energy in specially formulated materials designed to increase power levels.

According to Karr, DoD can support a competition for multiple vendors to develop technical concepts of 300kW laser technology intended to engage long-range targets such as cruise missiles.

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