Air Force Research Laboratory

Air Force Research Laboratory
Air Force Research Laboratory


October, 1997


Maj Gen Ted F. Bowlds


Col Scott Coale

US Military Budget:

$1.8 billion (2006)


4,200 civilian
1,200 military (2006)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) is a scientific research organization operated by the United States Air Force dedicated to the development of warfighting technologies. The AFRL headquarters is at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. The laboratory was created in October 1997 through the consolidation of four former Air Force laboratories and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR).

Mission Statement

AFRL’s published mission statement is:

AFRL’s mission is leading the discovery, development, and integration of affordable warfighting technologies for our air and space forces. AFRL accomplishes this through nine technology directorates located throughout the United States, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, and a central staff. AFRL’s partners include the Air Force major commands that operate and maintain the full spectrum of Air Force weapons systems. It is a full-spectrum laboratory, responsible for planning and executing the Air Force’s entire science and technology budget, basic research, applied research, and advanced technology development.


The laboratory is divided into 10 Tech Directorates (TDs) based on different areas of research.

Air Force Office of Scientific Research

AFRL contribution to research is “by investing in basic research efforts for the Air Force in relevant scientific areas.” This is done with private industry and academia, as well as with organizations in the United States Department of Defense and AFRL.

Air Vehicles Directorate

Wright-Patterson AFB Dayton, Ohio

Directed Energy Directorate

Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico

AFRL Sites

AFRL sites

Human Effectiveness Directorate

In its vision statement, the HE branch of AFRL includes the goals of “integrating personnel with systems technology,” and “protecting the force.” Towards fulfilling those goals, HE performs research to “define human capabilities, vulnerabilities, and effectiveness.” One practical application of HE’s work is ensuring the safety of ejection systems for pilots. HE has been working to protect airmen since 1931. Advanced manikins equipped with numerous sensors are used to establish injury thresholds and stress tolerances necessary for the design and implementation of aircraft and their systems. With the increasing number of females in the Air Force ranks, anthropometry is of greater import now than ever, and HE’s WB-4 ‘whole-body scanner’ enables swift and accurate acquisition of anthropometric data which may be used to design pilot equipment with a better fit for comfort and safety.

Wright-Patterson AFB Dayton, Ohio

Information Directorate

  • Hanscom AFB, Massachusetts
  • Rome, New York

Materials and Manufacturing Directorate

The AFRL Materials and Manufacturing Directorate (AFRL/ML) develops materials, processes, and advanced manufacturing technologies for aerospace systems and their components.

Munitions Directorate

Located at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida, the Air Force Research Laboratory Munitions Directorate (AFRL/MN) leads the discovery, development, integration, and transition of affordable munitions technologies for our air and space force. In order to accomplish its mission, the directorate is broken into three divisions: Guidance (MNG), Ordanance (MNM), and Analysis (MNA).

Propulsion Directorate

Wright-Patterson AFB, OH / Edwards AFB, CA

Sensors Directorate

Wright-Patterson AFB Dayton, Ohio

Space Vehicles Directorate

AFRL/VS is based at Kirtland AFB, Albuquerque, NM.

History Office

The History Office of the AFRL is located at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio. The History Directorate is under the jurisdiction of the AFRL HQ. It employs three full time historians, an archivist, and a number of interns. The archives contain lab histories as well as histories of Wright-Pat lab facilities.


  1. Air Force Research Laboratory. USAF.
  5. AFRL Materials and Manufacturing Directorate. USAF.

External links