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nLIGHT Announces Expansion of HELSI Contract Award to $171 Million for Development of 1 Megawatt Directed Energy Laser

nLIGHT to deliver 1 Megawatt-class laser over three-year program

nLIGHT, Inc. (Nasdaq: LASR), a leading provider of high-power semiconductor and fiber lasers, today announced the award of additional options that more than double the previously-announced contract to produce a High Energy Laser (HEL) prototype as part of the second phase of the DoD’s Office of the Under Secretary of Defense, Research & Engineering (OUSD (R&E)) High Energy Laser Scaling Initiative (HELSI). The original phase two award announced in May 2023 was for $86 million, and the exercise of the additional options announced today brings the total value of the award to nLIGHT to $171 million.

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nLIGHT DEFENSE Systems rugged megawatt-class laser. (Photo: Business Wire)

nLIGHT DEFENSE Systems rugged megawatt-class laser. (Photo: Business Wire)

In the first phase of the HELSI program, nLIGHT utilized its coherent beam combined (CBC) architecture to demonstrate a 300 kilowatt (kW) class high energy laser with power and brightness that exceeded program objectives.

In the second phase of the HELSI program, which is expected to be executed over the next three years, nLIGHT will build upon its proven modular CBC architecture to scale laser source power to the megawatt-class with improved beam quality, size and weight. This laser will be delivered in a rugged conex-compatible form factor with optional space allocations to upgrade with precision long range tracking and adaptive optics technology.

“nLIGHT has been developing high-power, high-brightness lasers for use in military applications since the company’s founding over twenty years ago. As a dual-use technology company, we are excited to be part of the DoD’s strategic initiative to leverage innovative technology to defend against a wide range of threats,” commented Scott Keeney, nLIGHT’s President and Chief Executive Officer.

Jeff Barchers, President of nLIGHT DEFENSE Systems, noted, “Our technology’s ability to scale power and correct for atmospheric turbulence enables nLIGHT to deliver high-intensity beams that are precisely directed to long-range targets, maximizing the effectiveness of the laser. Our work on the second phase of the HELSI program will further support the broader transition of high energy lasers into the hands of the warfighter.”

About nLIGHT

nLIGHT, Inc. is a leading provider of high-power semiconductor and fiber lasers for industrial, microfabrication, aerospace and defense applications. nLIGHT is headquartered in Camas, Washington, and has defense operations in Colorado, Oregon and Washington state. For more information, please visit


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