Refurbishing of Airborne Laser's Megawatt-Class Laser Proceeds with Redelivery of First Turbopump to Northrop Grumman
REDONDO BEACH, Calif., Aug. 21, 2006 (PRIMEZONE) -- Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) has received the second of six turbopumps that are being refurbished during the disassembly and inspection of the megawatt-class laser the company provides for the Missile Defense Agency's (MDA) Airborne Laser (ABL) program.
The turbopumps were sent to Honeywell Inc. (NYSE:HON) earlier this year as part of the disassembly and refurbishment of the Chemical Oxygen Iodine Laser (COIL). Tests were completed in the System Integration Lab (SIL) at Edwards Air Force Base in December 2005 when the COIL demonstrated repeatability of sufficient power and duration to shoot down a missile. Refurbishment will continue through early 2007, after which the COIL will be re-installed on the ABL flight aircraft, currently undergoing modification in Wichita, Kan.
Turbopumps in the COIL are a critical new technology developed at Honeywell in conjunction with Northrop Grumman's Space Technology sector for ABL. The turbopumps circulate basic hydrogen peroxide, the principal laser fuel, through each of the six laser modules comprising the COIL. Spinning at more than 42,000 revolutions per minute, the six turbopumps could fill a backyard swimming pool in less than three minutes.
"The turbopumps performed flawlessly throughout SIL testing when the COIL was fired more than 70 times, eventually exceeding the MDA's full duration (firing time) goal," noted Alexis Livanos, president of Northrop Grumman Space Technology. "Refurbishment work underway has allowed us to make improvements to increase reliability and to implement lessons learned during the laser’s earlier life in the laboratory."
The Military Aircraft Division of Honeywell Defense and Space is refurbishing the turbopumps at its facilities in Torrance, Calif. The first refurbished turbopump was delivered July 14 to Edwards Air Force Base where the COIL will be reassembled in the ABL aircraft. The laser's other parts have been shipped to their original manufacturers for inspection as well and are due to be redelivered through early 2007.
The megawatt-class laser will be installed on the ABL aircraft in 2007 to prepare for the program's first missile shoot-down test, slated for 2008.
The Boeing Company is the prime contractor for ABL, responsible for developing the battle management system, supplying the modified 747-400 freighter aircraft and providing overall weapon system integration. Lockheed Martin is developing the beam control/fire control system. Northrop Grumman is providing the complete COIL and the Beacon Illuminator Laser.
Northrop Grumman Space Technology, based in Redondo Beach, Calif., has been developing and demonstrating high-energy lasers for more than 30 years.
Northrop Grumman Corporation is a global defense company headquartered in Los Angeles, Calif. Northrop Grumman provides technologically advanced, innovative products, services and solutions in systems integration, defense electronics, information technology, advanced aircraft, shipbuilding and space technology. With more than 120,000 employees and operations in all 50 states and 25 countries, Northrop Grumman serves U.S. and international military, government and commercial customers.
CONTACT: Bob Bishop
Northrop Grumman Space Technology
(310) 567-4919 (cell)
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