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A new Space and Missile Defense Command facility will provide the Army with emerging capabilities against future threats.

The SMDC Directed Energy Research Facility is a construction project the command’s Technical Center submitted in 2016 to establish a modern research and development facility for high energy lasers, or HEL.

“High energy lasers engage at the speed of light and provide a solution to constantly evolving threats, while reducing the logistics trail associated with conventional kinetic weapon systems,” Corry Cox, SMDC Technical Center lab manager, said. “Previous advances in high energy laser technologies at the Technical Center have positioned the Army to rapidly field prototypes through the Army Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office. The Directed Energy Research Facility will enable the Army to stay on the forefront of this technology as prototypes transition to programs of record.”

The Corps of Engineers contracted a local company for the construction of the facility which began in March, and is set to conclude May 2021. The facility will be approximately 5,800 square feet, consisting mostly of specialty highbay space, sufficient to house two HEL systems simultaneously.

The site for the Directed Energy Research Facility is located on the western edge of Redstone Arsenal in the SMDC Technical Center’s Space and Directed Energy Technology Complex.

The technology complex will be a focal point for research, development and engineering advancement in directed energy, tactical responsive space, strategic weapons technologies and other key components of the Army’s modernization efforts.

“The technology complex laboratory facilities will give the command’s scientific and engineering professionals numerous opportunities for hands-on research and development,” Cox said. “The complex will enable collaboration across Team Redstone, the Army and local industry partners for crucial technology development to maintain a competitive edge against adversaries. When fully completed, the Space and Directed Energy Technology Complex will house capabilities that will drive and enable future weapon systems for the Army.”

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