New AFRL virtual range to bring directed energy capabilities to warfighters

KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. (AFRL) – The Air Force Research Laboratory Directed Energy Directorate has awarded a contract, the largest award of its kind, to BlueHalo to build a directed energy modeling and simulation virtual range.

The 10-year, $80 million effort will create, conduct and support simulated wargames for the Department of Defense and build a modeling and simulation virtual range dedicated to directed energy weapons, or DEWs. The virtual range will host directed energy utility concept events that familiarize joint warfighters with DEWs by providing the opportunity to face adversarial forces in a simulated environment.

These events, along with other military utility analysis studies, will provide AFRL with necessary tools to minimize capability gaps, better serve joint warfighters and focus future efforts to bring needed systems to operational activities. This contract went through the directed energy technology experimentation research process.

About AFRL

The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) is the primary scientific research and development center for the Department of the Air Force. AFRL plays an integral role in leading the discovery, development, and integration of affordable warfighting technologies for our air, space, and cyberspace forces. With a workforce of more than 11,500 across nine technology areas and 40 operations across the globe, AFRL provides a diverse portfolio of science and technology ranging from fundamental to advanced research and technology development. For more information, visit:

image of officers testing equipment

Col. Matthew Crowell, the Air Force Safety Center’s chief of aviation safety; and Capt. Phillip Butler, 314th Fighter Squadron, operate their virtual aircraft at AFRL’s Directed Energy and Kinetic Energy Directed Energy Concept Utility Experiment, or DEKE DEUCE, held at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico. (U.S. Air Force photo / Allen Winston)