Military Embedded Systems

Directed- and kinetic-energy experiments by AFRL aim to derive synergies and educate users


February 14, 2022

Lisa Daigle

Assistant Managing Editor

Military Embedded Systems

Col. Matthew Crowell, USAF Safety Center chief of aviation safety; and Capt. Phillip Butler, 314th Fighter Squadron. U.S. Air Force photo/Allen Winston.

KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. The Directed Energy Directorate of the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) recently held a collaborative wargame with its sister AFRL unit -- the Munitions Directorate -- in a set of experiments designed to explore synergies between directed energy (DE) and kinetic energy (KE) in the battlespace of the future. 

The Directed Energy and Kinetic Energy Directed Energy Utility Concept Experiment, called by the acronym DEKE DEUCE, put pilots, weapons-systems officers, and air battle managers into a series of virtual vignettes exploring mission sets that relate to the combined use of directed- and kinetic-energy systems. 

Dr. Darl Lewis, DEUCE lead and wargaming principal investigator, said of the exercise: “An urgent need exists to rapidly field and integrate viable next-generation weapons, both DE and KE, in response to increasing capabilities and aggressive intentions from our adversaries. This DEUCE focused on identifying capability and joint integration gaps that can be addressed by systems under consideration, as well as potential future tactics and procedures.”

As in past DEUCE events, AFRL demonstrated its Weapons Engagement Optimizer (WOPR), an artificial intelligence (AI)-based battle-management system intended to help the warfighter manage incoming data during complex battlefield engagements. 

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