- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 6, 2020

U.S. Army officials are thrilled about a showdown between Northrop Grumman and Raytheon that will determine which defense giant provides troops with 50-kilowatt, laser-equipped Strykers.

Preparations are underway for a 2021 competition that will switch things up and have soldiers test the Directed-Energy Maneuver-Short Range Air Defense (M-SHORAD) Strykers instead of contractors.

Lt. Gen. L. Neil Thurgood, director of Hypersonics, Directed Energy, Space and Rapid Acquisition, talked about the test with reporters during a Defense News space and missile defense webinar, Military.com reported.

“We are super excited about the directed-energy mission and bringing that technology to bear on the battlefield,” the officer said Wednesday. “In the operational construct, there is a mix of kinetic killers and directed-energy killers,” Lt. Gen. Thurgood said. “That’s important because there really is no one weapon system that is the placebo of life. … You need a mix of weapon systems on the battlefield to be successful.”

The tests are scheduled for the third quarter of fiscal 2021.

“We make a down-select, we buy three more of those, and we field that unit,” Lt. Gen. Thurgood added.

• Douglas Ernst can be reached at dernst@washingtontimes.com.

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