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Standalone Laser Delivered: Northrop Grumman announced yesterday that it has provided a compact, standalone, 15kW solid-state laser to the Air Force Research Lab’s directed energy directorate at Kirtland AFB, N.M. The system, called Vesta II, was developed with Defense Department sponsorship under the joint high power solid state laser program. Vesta II is a transportable, modular push-button laser with long run time and high beam quality. It will be used by the lab “as a testing device for lethality, atmospheric propagation, long-range imaging, and laser weapon applications," said Northrop’s Dan Wildt, vice president of directed energy systems. The US military thinks solid-state lasers will be capable of lethal battlefield effects against missiles, rockets, artillery shells, and mortar rounds when they reach power levels of 100kW.