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Air Force Research Laboratory officials last week broke ground on a $6 million, high-tech “war-gaming” facility that will be used to research and analyze futuristic laser weapons on Kirtland Air Force Base.
The new Wargaming and Advanced Research Simulation, or WARS, Laboratory is expected to open in 2023 and will replace an aging building on base. The Air Force’s Directed Energy Wargaming and Simulation Branch and the Space Vehicles Simulation and Analysis Branch will use the new lab, according to an AFRL news release.
“This lab will promote the use of digital engineering, saving time and money, and will provide the opportunity for partnerships within AFRL, the industry and our allies,” said Col. Eric Felt, director of the Space Vehicles Directorate, which is based at KAFB.
The new space will include an auditorium with 90 workstations where people from different Department of Defense entities can perform war-fighting experiments using directed energy technology.
Directed energy weapons convert different frequencies of electromagnetic waves and light into a high-power pulse to shoot at a target. A laser gun or a device that shoots a radio wave which can shut off enemy electronics are examples of such technology. AFRL’s Directed Energy Directorate is based at KAFB.
The 10,685 square-foot building is expected to cost $6 million, according to AFRL. Studio Southwest Architects and Eagle Eye Construction are contractors for the project.
“The WARS Lab will be a state-of-the-art facility where we can demonstrate the art of the possible, immersing the warfighters into scenarios using future technologies,” Teresa LeGalley, the program manager for wargaming, modeling and simulation, said in the news release.