Skywave Technology Lab Increases Space Domain Awareness > Air Force Materiel Command > Article Display

KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE, New Mexico (AFRL) – the Air Force Research Laboratory The Space Vehicles Directorate held a groundbreaking ceremony on April 11 to open a new facility named Skywave Technology Laboratory. The 3,500 square foot, $3.5 million lab is located in a remote area of ​​Kirtland Air Force Base.

Although small in area compared to many AFRL labs, it is one of the largest in area. The Skywave Lab is located on 72 acres, which provides the outdoor space needed to perform sensor testing locally without radio frequency interference, before sending systems into the field. The one-story facility includes laboratories, administrative offices, staging/workshop areas, support spaces and two outdoor equipment testing platforms.

“The Skywave Lab is a world-class facility that will enable research and advance understanding of skywave technologies,” said Todd Parris, who leads the Geospatial Environmental Impacts and Applications Branch. “The work we’re doing here will help us understand radio wave disturbances, also known as skywaves, by studying their propagation through the atmosphere. It’s exciting to have this new lab where we can bring the AFRL team together in the vast acreage, where our large antennas reside, to explore the unique capabilities the lab allows us to bring to the fighter.

Parris explained that AFRL’s Field Deployment Team develops, prototypes, tests and deploys radio and optical diagnostics of the near-Earth space environment. Their research focuses on technologies for monitoring and predicting the space environment and the resulting effects on air and space systems.

“The opening of the Skywave Lab is an important step in advancing our understanding of the ionosphere, through our partnerships with the Army Corps of Engineers and our construction and architecture teams in Albuquerque,” said Colonel Eric Felt, director of the Space Vehicles Directorate. “This facility is a superb example of partnering to bring technology to the warfighter.”

Felt stressed that in AFRL support to the combatant, it is important to distinguish what happens naturally in space from contradictory activities in this area.

“We owe it to our researchers to provide them with the best possible facilities and tools to do the research we need for national security,” he said. “Ensuring that our world-class AFRL scientists and engineers conduct ‘hands-on’ research to master the underlying science and technology is AFRL’s ‘secret sauce’.”

About the AFRL
The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) is the principal scientific research and development center of the Department of the Air Force. The AFRL plays a critical role in the discovery, development and integration of affordable combat technologies for our air, space and cyberspace force. With a staff of over 11,500 people in nine technology areas and 40 other operations around the world, AFRL offers a diverse portfolio of science and technology ranging from basic research to advanced research and technology development. For more information visit: