The facilities will help the Air Force develop next generation technologies and winning capabilities against security threats or technologically advanced adversaries.
The collaboration between AFCEC and the Mobile District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers successfully drove the award of two contracts for construction of the new cyberspace test facility and the advanced munitions complex at Eglin AFB.
“The facilities will help the Air Force maintain a technology edge over our adversaries by developing and testing next generation cutting-edge weapons,” said Col. Dave Norton, director of AFCEC’s Facility Engineering Directorate. “AFCEC works with Air Force installations to construct resilient and mission ready facilities that provide a high level of combat power, readiness and lethality.”
USACE Mobile District is the design and construction agent for the projects, with AFCEC is overseeing overall construction, ensuring the execution of all phases of the projects remain timely and delivered within budget.
Both projects were awarded to Hensel Phelps, a large national contractor with vast experience performing military construction projects.
The advanced munitions technology complex is a two-phased project with phase one contracted in March 2019. The groundbreaking ceremony was held in May 2019.
This collaborative research workspace will house engineers and scientists as they develop and experiment with new, highly sophisticated munitions, powerful technologies and explosive materials for warfighters.
The development, considered a true national asset, will include eight facilities designed with the highest safety and security standards.
“The complex will deliver modernized infrastructure that enables safe and efficient research opportunities for next generation munitions,” said Brian Schrage, AFCEC project manager.
The recent award of a $19 million contract is the second phase of the project in support of the Air Force Research Laboratory’s high explosive research and development of nano-explosives and advanced energetics.
“The construction includes the build of six bunkers to accommodate the Complex for Agile Processing of Energetics, as well as supporting roads and parking areas,” Schrage said.
This multi-facility project is scheduled to be completed in mid 2022.
Meanwhile, construction of the cyberspace test group facility will deliver a new 52,000 square foot high-tech facility for the 96th Cyberspace Test Group to enhance critical developmental test and evaluation, training and exercise capabilities.
The 96th Test Wing at Eglin AFB is part of the Air Force Test Center. The wing provides evaluation and validation of Air Force air-delivered weapon technology and systems while also supporting all other team Eglin missions as the installation’s host wing.
“This is a multi-story building designed to aid the Air Force with increased cybersecurity operations and capabilities,” Schrage said. “It will ensure the Air Force has technologically superior intelligence, communications surveillance and reconnaissance systems.”
The design features a multi-level secure area in addition to sound reduction and masking, anti-terrorism and fire protection systems.
“The project will also include fire suppression systems, all utilities, pavements, communications, site improvements and associated support facilities to provide a complete and usable building,” Schrage said.
Construction of the cyberspace test group facility is projected for completion in 2022.
The new developments will help the Air Force reinforce research on munitions and increase warfighter capacities. They will enable engineers and scientists to explore new explosive components to keep pace with today’s smarter and smaller weapon systems.