Construction Begins on Air Force’s Wargaming Facility for Space and Lasers

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Robison Wells
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Space-related construction begins at the Kirtland Air Force base south of Albuquerque, New Mexico. The facility offers simulations for space vehicles and energy weapons wargaming.

Builders expect to complete the $6 million facility, known as the Wargaming and Advanced Research Simulation Laboratory (WARS), in Spring 2023. The facility will occupy 10,685 square feet.

“We in the Department of Defense are concerned about competition with our adversaries across all domains of warfighting,” said Space Vehicles Directorate head, Col. Eric Felt, in a Sept. 15 statement. “The WARS Lab will advance three strategies AFRL is pursuing to deter conflict, which we call ISP — innovation, speed, and partnerships.”

Though the building itself will cost $6 million, the equipment inside will be much more expensive. For example, a 90-workstation auditorium will allow Department of Defense engineers to run simulations.

“I am excited about our vision of a virtual range becoming a reality,” said Teresa LeGalley, program manager for wargaming, modeling, and simulation. “We are asked to determine military utility of directed energy, which means we need to insert high energy lasers and high-powered electromagnetics into a battlespace, to determine how they can be used to complement the weapon systems operators already have.”

Kirtland Air Force Base hosts a lot of construction, including a $4 million Deployable Structures Laboratory, a $3.5 million Skywave Technology Laboratory, and the $12.8 million Space Warfighting Operations Research and Development Lab.

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