AFRL to highlight lab’s focus on warfighters at AFA Warfare Symposium

  • Published
  • By Bryan Ripple
  • Air Force Research Laboratory Public Affairs

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio (AFRL) – The Air Force Research Laboratory will highlight several technologies and programs that support warfighter challenges during the Air & Space Force Association's Warfare Symposium March 6-8, 2023, at the Gaylord Rockies Resort & Convention Center in Aurora, Colorado.

This year’s theme is “Dominant Air & Space Forces to Deter, Fight & Win,” and attendees can expect to see AFRL displays about several programs and technologies concerning new weapons, systems, and approaches.

“Our goal is to place superior military capabilities into the hands of our operators,” said Maj. Gen. Heather Pringle, AFRL commander. “Thanks to strong partnerships with industry and PEOs, as well as harnessing the talents of AFRL’s multi-disciplinary team, technology makes it to the field faster than ever before.”

Pringle will host a media roundtable discussion covering AFRL’s “Digital Transformation” March 7, 2023, at 4:50 p.m. She will be joined by Dr. Michael R. Gregg, a member of the Senior Executive Service and director of AFRL’s Aerospace Systems Directorate; Andrea Mahaffey, AFRL chief data officer and Dr. James Sumpter, AFRL chief architect officer.

Pringle will also moderate a panel discussion with members of industry entitled “Transitioning to a Wartime Posture Against a Peer Competitor” March 8, 2023, from 8:25 – 9:05 a.m. at the symposium. Her panelists include David Tweedie, general manager, Advanced Products, GE Edison Works; Brian Morrison, vice president and general manager, Cyber Systems; and Andre McMillian, vice president, Sustainment Operations, Pratt & Whitney, Military Engines.

AFRL programs and technologies on display

The AFRL booth will feature various technologies and programs that highlight the lab’s responsiveness to warfighters’ needs. THOR, or Tactical High Power Operational Responder, is a counter-swarm electromagnetic weapon AFRL developed for defense of airbases. The system provides non-kinetic defeat of multiple targets. It operates from a wall plug and uses energy to disable drones.

A Rotating Detonation Engine, or RDE, is essentially a more compact and efficient method of creating thrust for a wide variety of military relevant systems. These mechanically simple engines have no moving parts making them less complex than gas turbine engines and therefore potentially lower cost and simpler to manufacture.

RDEs rapidly burn fuel via a supersonically travelling detonation wave; this in turn delivers high performance in a small volume. This volume savings can be used to increase fuel and/or payload volume providing potential range, speed and affordability benefits compared to rockets, ramjets and gas-turbines.

This rapidly developing technology enables a wide range of military applications including air-to-ground, air-to-air and surface weapons. Building on sustained Air Force and Navy investment, current research is targeted at expeditiously transitioning truly disruptive effects to the warfighter.

QUICKSINK is a Joint Capability Technology Demonstration that rapidly integrates and demonstrates Department of the Air Force technology which creates air-delivered, low-cost, surface vessel defeat capability for the warfighter. Key to the demonstration is the Air Force Research Laboratory development of a Weapon Open Systems Architecture seeker for precision targeting of maritime surface vessels at a low-cost.

AFRL aims to significantly increase missile range and lethality against highly maneuverable targets with a better flight control actuation system. The MUTANT program’s approach is a form of active morphing involving high-rate pivoting of the missile forebody, referred to as articulation.

Predictive Vehicle Activity for Identification and Location, or PreVAIL, is an artificial intelligence/machine learning toolbox that enables the state-of-the-art for satellite-based tracking capabilities by investigating a novel approach to automated target detection and recognition. This toolbox uses a novel neural network and predictive traffic analysis.

Fusion based target recognition systems provide advanced artificial intelligence, or AI, for the next-generation of multi-sensor fusion-based target recognition systems by leveraging synthetic, scale-model, and real sensor data to tackle technology challenges of both maturing AI algorithms and addressing operational challenges.

Integrated/Layered Base Defense efforts seek to provide cost-curve flipping kinetic effects in layered defense for the counter-cruise missile mission. Two major thrusts exist within the Base Defense effort including the Hypervelocity Gun Weapon System and the National Advanced Surface to Air Missile System.

EDGE Connect provides several key capabilities including the establishment of a Software-Defined Wide Area Network, increasing resiliency over existing communications systems by stitching together multiple pathways, such as satellite communication, cellular, radio frequency, etc. and automating management of network traffic versus status quo use of a single pathway.

The Unmanned Long-Endurance Tactical Reconnaissance Aircraft, or ULTRA, unmanned aerial system provides a long endurance, GPS-hardened intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance platform with full global operational access at fractional cost and smaller operational footprint than other unmanned aircraft in its class.

The Department of the Air Force Golden Horde Vanguard program is building on the success of a flight demonstration campaign and pivoting from inventory weapon demonstrations to developing and delivering a multi-tier digital weapon ecosystem. This digital ecosystem offers a live, virtual, constructive testing and demonstration capability known as the Golden Horde Colosseum.

The Colosseum will expand the industrial base by lowering entry barriers, building a sandbox for traditional and non-traditional entrants, enabling rapid development and demonstration of new NCA technologies and providing quicker acquisition and transition on-ramps. This approach will cultivate competition and breed success.

Digital transformation will also be featured at AFRL’s exhibit. Learn more about the lab’s new Digital Capabilities Directorate, which facilitates the delivery of new capabilities to the warfighter at the speed of relevance. The goal is to enhance technical and investment decision processes; seamlessly connect with peers, collaborators, key stakeholders, and acquisition decision processes; and improve execution efficiency.

Learn more about partnering with AFRL at AFRL’s AFA exhibit. AFRL has a long, successful history of engaging in collaborative science and technology partnerships and is open for business now. Stop by the AFRL booth to discuss ways to partner with AFRL.

For more information about AFRLs programs and technologies, visit, and to register, visit
NOTE FOR MEDIA: Please contact Jim Mitchell, Chief, Media Operations, at 937-479-9913 or email to request an interview opportunity to discuss these technology exhibits and learn more about these efforts.

About AFRL
The Air Force Research Laboratory, or AFRL, is the primary scientific research and development center for the Department of the Air Force. AFRL plays an integral role in leading the discovery, development, and integration of affordable warfighting technologies for our air, space, and cyberspace force. With a workforce of more than 11,500 across nine technology areas and 40 other operations across the globe, AFRL provides a diverse portfolio of science and technology ranging from fundamental to advanced research and technology development. For more information, visit: