The Office of Naval Research (ONR) has awarded a 12-month contract to Raytheon Integrated Defence Systems to design a 100-kilowatt free electron laser for the US navy.
Raytheon will implement its OpenAIR business model and collaborate with scientists from Department of Energy laboratories, as well as industry experts and academics from around the country.
Michael del Checcolo, vice-president of engineering for Raytheon, says high-powered laser beams could prove a powerful addition to the force's capability.
"In the future, such high power lasers could be used to instantaneously engage targets at long ranges, enhancing the US navy's ability to combat enemies and threats at sea," he said.
The company has also been awarded a contract worth $217 million (£133.6 million) to create two radar arrays for the Zumwalt-class destroyer programme and the aircraft carrier USS Gerald R Ford.
Raytheon employs 73,000 people worldwide and provides sensors, electronics and other capabilities for defence applications.