The US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) has opened a new 12,000ft² High-Power Electromagnetic (HPEM) Effects and Modelling Facility.

A ceremony to mark the opening of the laboratory was held at AFRL’s Directed Energy Directorate, which is located at Kirtland Air Force Base (AFB) in New Mexico, US on 7 December.

The event was attended by various community leaders and officials.

The $6m project has been completed with support from an Albuquerque-based engineering and construction company QA Engineering.

The company worked together with AFRL to ensure that the facility is equipped according to the planned requirements. 

The newly opened facility features a 4,000ft² high bay laboratory that will allow AFRL to bolster its status as a leading HPEM science and technology organisation. It also has a secure area and around 30 office spaces.

AFRL Directed Energy Directorate HPEM Division chief Kenneth Miller said: “Enabling our staff to work from the same location will increase efficiency and effectiveness of research and system integration, provide robust collaboration opportunities and enable demonstration of rapid response capabilities.”

The facility will support planning, developing, prototyping, testing and deploying several high-powered radio frequency weapons systems.

Furthermore, the space also features a dedicated forensic laboratory to support a wide variety of studies related to HPEM targets after engagement to advance the development of directed energy technologies.

AFRL HEPM Division chief engineer Dr Michael Lambrecht said: “The HPEM Effects and Modelling facility includes test beds for benchtop electronic component testing, anechoic chambers for free-field radiation testing of electronic systems and a circuit board forensics lab for determining fault mechanisms of electronic components.

“It also features high-performance computing for modelling and simulation of HPEM sources, energy propagation and mission effectiveness of high-powered microwave systems.”