Air Force Research Laboratory

The Air Force Research Laboratory leads the discovery, development and integration of affordable warfighting technologies for our air, space and cyberspace forces.

While our heritage dates back to 1918, AFRL officially launched in 1997 to consolidate the four former Air Force laboratories and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research. The laboratory and its predecessors have overseen more than 100 years of critical research efforts for the Department of the Air Force and Department of Defense. With technology breakthroughs found in all of today's modern aircraft and weapons systems, including the F-117 Nighthawk, B-2 Spirit, C-17 Globemaster and the F-22 Raptor, AFRL has contributed to significant advancements in modern communications, electronics, manufacturing, medical research and products.

Personnel and Resources
AFRL employs approximately 11,500 military, civilian and contractor personnel, and manages a $7 billion portfolio of investments. The lab supports external customers and partners with industry while investing in basic research, applied research and advanced technology development. As one integrated lab, AFRL seamlessly supports the Science & Technology needs of two services: the Air Force and the Space Force.

Headquarters: Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio
Locations in 10 States: California, Florida, Hawaii, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia
Edwards AFB, California
Eglin AFB, Florida
Maui, Hawaii
Kirtland AFB, New Mexico
Rome, New York
Arlington, Virginia
Arnold AFB, Tennessee
Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio
Fort Sam Houston, Texas

AFWERX: Austin, Texas; Dayton, Ohio; Las Vegas, Nevada; Washington, D.C.
SpaceWERX: Los Angeles, California

AFRL accomplishes its mission through nine Technology Directorates, the 711th Human Performance Wing, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, AFWERX and a central headquarters staff.

Headquarters AFRL
Headquarters AFRL operates the Major Shared Resource Center at Wright-Patterson AFB, one of four high-performance computing centers in the DoD. The center tackles large-scale problems previously beyond the reach of processing platforms and provides a vast array of services in a collaborative environment.

711th Human Performance Wing
The 711th Human Performance Wing, which consolidates research, education and consultation under a single organization, comprises the Airman Systems Directorate and the United States Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine (USAFSAM). In conjunction with the Naval Medical Research Unit-Dayton and surrounding universities and medical institutions, the 711th HPW functions as a Joint DoD Center of Excellence for human performance sustainment, readiness and optimization.

The Wing’s Airman-centric research, education and consultation enable the DAF to achieve responsive and effective global vigilance, reach and power now and in the future. Leveraging a convergent sciences approach, the 711th HPW provides the DAF with unparalleled expertise to maximize Airman availability, enhance performance and optimize resources wherever and whenever possible. The wing advances biological and cognitive research, warfighter training and readiness programs, systems integration, and aerospace medicine​​​​​​​ to promote human performance, and support the most critical Air Force resource – the Airman and Guardians of our operational military forces.

U.S. Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine (USAFSAM) focuses on aeromedical education and training; and consultation. As a premier institute for education and worldwide operational consultation in aerospace and operational medicine, USAFSAM's mission is to optimize and sustain Airmen health and performance through world-class education and expert consultation.​

Airman Systems Directorate
The Airman Systems Directorate focuses on human factors science, engineering and research to advance Airman-related technology for systems crucial to continued aerospace superiority, and to enhance the health and performance of the multi-domain Airman.​ Biological and cognitive technologies that address capabilities and minimize vulnerabilities protect DAF personnel and sustain operations, integrate operators and weapon systems, while enhancing preparation and mission execution across the full range of military operations.

Aerospace Systems Directorate
The Aerospace Systems Directorate advances technologies to unleash transformative space and air capabilities to make the fight unfair. Areas of focus include aerospace vehicles, control, power, thermal management, high speed systems, rocket propulsion, turbine engines, and systems analysis. These core competencies mature technologies to enable innovative aerospace weapon system capabilities.

Directed Energy Directorate
The Directed Energy Directorate advances laser systems, high power electromagnetics, weapons modeling and simulation capabilities, and electro-optics for space superiority.

Known for their expertise in directed energy and optical technologies, scientists and engineers transition game-changing counter-electronics weapon technologies that degrade, damage, or destroy electronic systems with minimum collateral damage. With telescopes in New Mexico and Hawaii, the directorate is a leader in ground-based space imaging using adaptive optics and is the pioneer of the first and only megawatt class airborne laser.

Information Directorate
The Information Directorate explores, prototypes, and demonstrates command and control, communications, computing, cyber, and intelligence technologies that enable the DAF and the Nation to maintain its superior technical advantage.

Materials and Manufacturing
The Materials and Manufacturing Directorate develops new materials, processes and manufacturing technologies for aircraft, spacecraft, missiles, rockets, ground-based systems and their structural, electronic and optical components. In addition to its manufacturing technology programs and affordability initiatives, the directorate also provides material solutions to Air Force acquisition offices, field organizations and maintenance depots.

Munitions Directorate
The Munitions Directorate rapidly develops and delivers war-winning munitions technologies to enable the multi-domain effects our Air and Space forces need to address the pacing threat. These technologies are allowing weapons to survive and thrive in highly-contested, multi-domain environments, making them more connected, more affordable, more capable and with greater load-out capacity. This gives our forces the ability to penetrate robust enemy lines, overwhelm and confuse defenses, access adversary operational domains, collect and share relevant data with friendly forces, dynamically respond to changes in the battlefield, and overpower surging forces.

Sensors Directorate
The Sensors Directorate focuses on affordable sensor and countermeasure technologies for reconnaissance, surveillance, precision engagement and electronic warfare systems. The goal is to provide robust sensors and adaptive countermeasures that guarantee complete freedom of air, space and cyber operations for our forces, and deny these capabilities to our adversaries.

Core technology areas include radio frequency and electro-optical sensing, electromagnetic spectrum warfare, multi-domain sensing autonomy, resilient mission systems, and enabling devices and components.

Space Vehicles Directorate
The Space Vehicles Directorate develops and transitions technologies for more effective and affordable space missions, thereby ensuring America's defensive advantage in space. Primary mission thrusts include Space-Based Surveillance (space-to-space and space-to-ground) and Space Capability Protection (protecting space assets from man-made and natural effects). Primary focus areas include radiation-hardened electronics, space power, space structures and control, space-based sensing, environmental effects, autonomous maneuvering and satellite flight experiments.

Strategic Developmental Planning & Experimentation Directorate
The Strategic Developmental Planning & Experimentation Directorate, which includes the Transformational Capabilities Office (TCO) and the Strategic Development Planning and Experimentation Office (SDPE), is the mission organization that supports Future Force demonstration, strategic development planning, experimentation, prototyping, and DAF architecture design and evaluation. The directorate organizes AFRL talent at the enterprise level to prioritize, demonstrate and transition capabilities for the future Air Force and Space Force. TCO manages the Transformational Component of science and technology investment that was created in response to the DAF S&T Strategy. SDPE is charged with the design, build-out and execution of operational experimentation and prototype efforts that aim to understand the operational utility and competitive advantages they provide against China and other adversaries.

Air Force Office of Scientific Research
The Air Force Office of Scientific Research manages basic research programs for AFRL, which ultimately provide the foundation for future technological advancements. AFOSR facilitates long-term, broad-based research programs with government agencies, industry partners and academic institutions.

AFWERX is a part of AFRL and the innovation arm of the DAF, transitions agile, affordable and accelerated capabilities by teaming innovative technology developers with Airmen and Guardian talent. Such teaming occurs across academia, industry, investment, interagency and international partners to expand technology, identify talent and transition dual-use capabilities.

SpaceWERX is the U.S. Space Force-affiliated arm of the AFWERX team, focuses on advancing innovative technologies for U.S. Space Force Guardians and expanding the industrial space by guiding additional partners, leveraging commercial investment and rapidly pursuing new technologies, while closely aligning its efforts with space operators and acquisition professionals within the U.S. Space Force.

(Current as of October 2021)