To meet the ignition system needs of large bore high pressure lean burn natural gas engines a laser diode side pumped passively Q-switched laser igniter was designed and tested. The laser was designed to produce the optical intensities needed to initiate ignition in a lean burn high brake mean effective pressure (BMEP) engine. The experimentation explored a variety of optical and electrical input parameters that when combined produced a robust spark in air. The results show peak power levels exceeding 2 MW and peak focal intensities above 400 GW/cm2. Future research avenues and current progress with the initial prototype are presented and discussed.