DARPA has awarded two contracts to develop pod-mounted lasers to protect unmanned airborne platforms from surface-to-air missiles. Under the Endurance program, Northrop Grumman received a $14.6 million contract, while Lockheed Martin received an $11.3 million award.
DARPA declined to provide any details on the Endurance program, other than to refer to a brief description in a budget document. According to the document, “the Endurance program will develop technology for pod-mounted lasers to protect a variety of airborne platforms from emerging and legacy electro-optical IR guided surface-to-air missiles. The focus of the Endurance effort will be to develop and test ancillary subsystems, such as a command subsystem, a threat missile warning subsystem, a mechanical support framework, subsystem interfaces, and the design, integration, and testing of a form/fit/function brass-board laser countermeasure.”
In fiscal 2014, the contractors will “initiate preparations for look-down, shoot-down live-fire testing of the brass-board laser countermeasure.”
The two contracts are to be completed by December 2016.