The US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) has awarded a 10-year contract to American technology firm BlueHalo to build a directed energy simulation range.
Reportedly the largest award of its kind, the $80 million contract will create a digital range to host directed energy concept events for the US military.
Such events include wargame simulations sponsored by the US Department of Defense to prepare American troops for future warfare.
Range developers seek to familiarize warfighters with directed energy weapons by allowing them to face enemy forces in a simulated environment.
The technology is expected to help the armed forces minimize capability gaps and bring crucial systems to the operational environment.
Investments in Directed Energy
The contract is among many US military investments in directed energy and laser weapons.
Last year, the US Air Force conducted a wind tunnel test to assess how changing airflows can impact the quality and effectiveness of directed energy systems.
The test reportedly allowed engineers to determine how the system’s beam reacts to wind, affecting other variables such as speed and altitude.
The US Army also tested its first high-energy laser weapon prototype on a Stryker armored vehicle in Oklahoma.
The weapon will be used to defend soldiers against enemy drones, rockets, artillery, and mortars.