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Colorado firm wins $26.5 million AFRL contract

A Colorado-based company has landed a $26 million contract with the Air Force Research Laboratory in Albuquerque to assist on emerging microwave and laser weapon systems through the AFRL’s Directed Energy Directorate. This file photo shows 1st Lt. Daniel Gum during a high-powered microwave test at AFRL. photo courtesy AFRL

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Colorado-based Apogee Engineering LLC won a five-year, $26.5 million contract to provide a range of support services to the Air Force Research Laboratory’s space and directed energy systems development in Albuquerque.

The company plans to immediately hire 18 new employees from the local workforce. Nearly all contract tasks will be performed at Kirtland Air Force Base, at least to start, said vice president of program operations Frank Varga.

“We’ll leverage some of our existing workforce, but we’re actively recruiting locally to fill 18 positions now,” Varga said. “About 90 percent of the contract work will be in the Albuquerque area … We’re looking for managers, analysts, engineers and scientists.”

The company, which launched in 2004, provides support services for defense and civilian federal agencies nationwide, with 25 locations across the U.S.

This is it’s first contract in Albuquerque, although it currently has a team at Holloman

Air Force Base to support GPS testing.

“We haven’t been at Kirtland before, it’s a new market for us,” Varga said. “But we’ve always had our sights on New Mexico, especially Albuquerque. It’s a target for us, and this contract provides a big stepping stone.”

The company expects to grow and expand its local workforce over time, potentially establishing an independent, local facility off base.

“Initially, 100 percent of operations will be at Kirtland, but as requirements grow and space becomes constrained, we’ll look to set up a local facility as we’ve done in other markets,” Varga said. “The goal is to have a permanent location here.”

Under the contract, Apogee will provide support services for AFRL’s Space Vehicles Directorate, which is developing new technologies as part of a broad military effort to modernize the country’s space defense systems. Much of that work is based at Kirtland, which also houses the Air Force Space Rapid Capabilities Office and the Space and Missiles Center’s Advanced Systems and Development Directorate.

Apogee will also assist on emerging microwave and laser weapon systems, known as directed energy, through the AFRL’s Directed Energy Directorate.

Multi-million dollar contracts are flowing to local and national companies with operations here to support that work. Since February, two homegrown engineering firms, Tau Technologies and LoadPath LLC won AFRL contracts, including $8.9 million for Tau and $14.9 million for LoadPath. And in January, Northrop Grumman said it will open a new Albuquerque facility, potentially doubling its local workforce to 300 over the next three years.

Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-NM, told the Journal in March that a lot more is coming.

“There’s a laundry list of employers setting up shop in Albuquerque, from small, homegrown companies to big guys like Boeing, Raytheon and General Atomics,” Heinrich told the Journal. “They all want to be here. They see New Mexico as the place to be now.”


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