CeLight wins DOD optical deal

Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems has awarded a $1.6 million subcontract to CeLight Inc. to support the Defense Department's Secure Digital Coherent Optical Communications program.

The program, part of the Defense Micro-Electronics Activity, is intended to block the jamming and eavesdropping of optical links used for secure communications. CeLight's technology, called VectorWAVE, can synthesize and analyze coherent optical signals.

The company's long-term goal for the project is to provide an optical transceiver to prevent jamming and eavesdropping. This early phase, however, is for analyzing and demonstrating enabling technologies, according to company officials.

As CeLight's first defense-related win, the deal is an important one, said Toomas Kilm, CeLight's executive vice president of marketing and business development, because the company is trying to establish a foothold in the defense and homeland security markets.

The company's technology has a variety of uses, including the long-range detection of explosives and gases, and distinguishing friend from foe in combat, he said.

"Given what's going on in the world today, it's what we believe to be a very, very important application," Kilm said.

Founded in 1999, CeLight began by providing long-haul, high-speed optical transmissions for telecommunications firms.

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