EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Florida (AFRL) – The Air Force Research Laboratory The Ordnance Branch recently opened two new co-built facilities here, designed to serve as adaptable and collaborative working environments. These facilities will encourage rapid, cross-disciplinary interactions and cultivate an inspiring, creative and innovative culture between artillery science researchers and modeling and simulation software developers – two groups that do not usually mix.
The Ordnance Science Innovation Center building is a critical collaborative facility approved as part of the Complex Military Construction of Advanced Munitions Technologies – a $98 million Military Construction-funded effort that provides state-of-the-art capabilities to develop explosive materials for the US Air Force. Located adjacent to OSIC, the Engineering and Applied Computational Science Facility is a state-of-the-art computing facility that provides the Air Force Research Laboratory with predictive capability for development and evaluation weapons. Both facilities are the result of a partnership between the Army Corp of Engineers, Eglin Civil Engineering and the AFRL.
The larger of the two buildings, OSIC was designed from the outset to be flexible with a variety of breakout rooms and shared workspaces. A large central collaboration space is flanked by two office wings with workspaces for more than 60 people. With a spacious and open-minded design, OSIC lends itself to collaborative events and seminars, the result of which will be integrated technological innovations.
OSIC’s smaller counterpart, ACES, is equally impressive. The heart of the facility is a powerful software design lab that includes offices for over 50 software development experts. Together, these buildings cross the boundary of separating researchers focused on solutions for priming munitions, warheads and explosives. The ACES facility was intentionally designed in the spirit of collaboration and includes teamwork rooms that will facilitate cross-artillery integration.
Colonel Anthony Meeks, AFRL Ordnance Branch Director, has high expectations for OSIC and ACES. He proudly describes the facilities as “…the blending of multiple areas of expertise, multiple areas of passion for artillery science.” Meeks goes on to say that by working together, the OSIC and ACES facilities will provide the Air Force with “transformative ideas that are rapidly being developed, combining the best of science and technology, and realizing what the Air and Space Force needs to do to us.”
Although construction of the facilities falls under a single contract, separate funding streams allowed bidders to capitalize on bulk purchases, a common staging area, and phased construction requiring smaller functional work crews. Due to the shared contract and the multifaceted financing, the development was particularly profitable and took place in a much faster time frame.
Deputy Head of the Ordnance Division, Timothy Tobik, refers to the strategic importance of these facilities: “DAF’s science and technology strategy calls for developing and delivering transformational strategic capabilities. OSIC and ACES create the essential environment to seek multidisciplinary solutions to deliver strategic capabilities to the warfighter.
Future air and space solutions will require an integrated approach to delivering combat capability, and the collaborative nature of OSIC and ACES accomplishes just that. Modern, deliberately designed buildings provide space for interdisciplinary munitions technologists to collaborate on weapons advancement and maximize interactions for cognitive diversity in a rich and innovative environment.
OSIC and ACES researchers will develop next-generation weapons from digital concepts, performing simulation analysis for design iterations, building scale and full-scale prototypes, and performing complex tests to verify functionality.
Tobik looks forward to a bright future for OSIC and ACES, and said, “With the opening of these two facilities, AFRL researchers will accelerate the pace of discovery, blaze a trail for the landscape of ammunition digital engineering and innovate unconventional solutions to deliver capabilities. to our air and space force.