The ribbon cutting for a $6 million AFRL Electromagnetic facility recently took place at Kirtland’s Air Force Base, New Mexico. Consequently, several U.S. Air Force and community leaders were present to mark the opening of the new 12,000-square-foot facility. The Albuquerque-based QA Engineering company worked with the Air Force Research Laboratory(AFRL) to complete the project.
The Deputy Director for AFRL’s Energy Directorate, Kent Wood, said this was the 28th infrastructure project completed at Kirtland since 2009. However, this latest facility upgrade represents AFRL’s decade-long effort to provide the modern infrastructure needed to develop technology for warfighters. The new AFRL Electromagnetic facility was built as an add-on to an existing building at Kirtland.
Features of the AFRL Electromagnetic facility
The new AFRL Electromagnetic facility was built to enable support for high-powered radio frequency weapons systems. Therefore, the project features microwave and laser systems referred to as directed energy. These systems will make it possible for the Airforce to confront 21st-century threats like swarms of enemy drones. While also providing space-based defense capabilities to compete in the global race for domination in the new era of space exploration.
Dr. Michael Lambrecht, AFRL’s chief engineer at High-Power Electromagnetics Division, provided more details on AFRL’s Electromagnetic facility. He said the amenities at the facility will include test beds for benchtop electronic component testing.
Kenneth Miller, the chief of AFRL’s High-Power Electromagnetics Division said the new state-of-the-art facility will allow for greater collaboration. Besides providing infrastructure for the staff, Miller said the facility would also increase the efficiency and effectiveness of their research. AFRL’S Electromagnetic facility will include a 4,000-square-foot high bay laboratory within a secure area, along with about 30 office spaces.
Wood said the Air Force has invested over $100 million in other projects like the AFRL Electromagnetic facility. He said they were particularly interested in projects like this that can increase their research capabilities. One of these projects is the upcoming high-tech, digital “war-gaming” facility which will open by early 2023. At this facility, both military personnel and lab technicians will have virtual battlefield exercises.