WASHINGTON — The first set of Stryker combat vehicles equipped with 50-kilowatt laser weapons will be delivered to a unit of Army soldiers at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, by the end of September, according to the head of the service’s Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office.The Army has dubbed its Directed Energy Maneuver-Short Range Air Defense system “Guardian.” After testing its first prototype last spring at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, against one‑, two‑, and three-class unmanned aircraft systems and rockets, artillery and mortars, the service is planning to conduct more tests this month, Lt. Gen. L. Neil Thurgood said at a Jan. 12 event hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies.The testing will continue through the early part of February, he added.The Army learned from extensive soldier feedback of the first prototype down at White Sands and through virtual simulation, he said. Based on that feedback, the developers have gone back and made some design changes, Thurgood noted.The Army first awarded a contract in mid-2019 to Kord Technologies, a KBR subsidiary, to serve as the prime contractor for the first set of prototypes.Kord subsequently awarded subcontracts to Northrop Grumman and Raytheon Technologies to compete to supply the laser module.The competition was intended to culminate in a shoot-off between those companies’ respective teams. Kord and the Army were slated to then agree on a winner and proceed with integration of the chosen laser module onto three more Strykers to make a platoon’ …

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