Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) - Munitions Directorate


FLC Region

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101 West Eglin Blvd.
Eglin AFB, FL 32542-6810
United States

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The roots of the Air Force Research Laboratory Munitions Directorate (AFRL/RW) can be traced to air armament efforts initiated at Eglin Field during the early stages of World War II. Since this early start, the development of high-speed jet aircraft has outpaced the development of conventional air armament and created a dilemma of using modern fighter bombers to deliver World War II vintage munitions. Sparked by the heightening Vietnam conflict, research and development activities for non-nuclear armament were accelerated. On 1 March 1966, the predecessor to the Munitions Directorate, the Air Force Armament Laboratory (AFATL), was created to provide a community of scientists, engineers, and infrastructure to advance conventional weapons technology.

From the unit's inception, the research and development efforts have focused on user needs. The significance of applying leading edge technology to provide the user with the state-of-the-art weaponry makes a dramatic impact on the outcome of any given strike mission. Technology endeavors over recent years have manifested themselves in a variety of non- nuclear air armament, some of which were employed in effective surgical strike operations in Libya and Desert Storm.

Today, the Munitions Directorate is a part of the Air Force Research Laboratory and continues to make technological breakthroughs for future air armament. The Directorate's emphasis is on the weapon's capability to operate with complete autonomy and with high accuracy when delivered against ground targets in all weather conditions, day or night, using long- or short-range delivery tactics. Air-to-air missiles benefit from this technology with increased single shot kills and larger no-escape zones. Additionally, advances in hard target penetrating warheads are supplying mission flexibility by providing a conventional armament capability to defeat hardened targets traditionally reserved for nuclear weapons. In summary, paramount to every AFRL/MN technology decision is the answer to the question, "What does it do for the user?"


The primary role of the Air Force/AFRL-Munitions Directorate is to develop, integrate and transition science and technology for air-launched munitions for defeating ground fixed, mobile/relocatable, air and space targets to assure the pre-eminence of U.S. air and space forces.


  • Radio Frequency/Millimeter Wave Facility
  • Electro-Optical Research Facility
  • LADAR Development and Evaluation Research Facility
  • Instrumentation Technology Research Facility
  • Vehicle Hardware-In-The-Loop Simulation Facility
  • Aeroballistics Research Facility
  • Ballistics Experimentation Facility
  • Interior Ballistics and Impact Facility
  • Carriage and Release Facility
  • Computational Fluid Dynamics Facility
  • High Explosive Research and Development Facility
  • Advanced Warheads Experimental Facility
  • Fuses Research and Development Facility
  • Prototype Munition Fabrication Facility

Technology Disciplines

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Air to air homing missile guidance
Airborne and subterranean UHF antenna
Arming generator relocator adaptor
Array set addressing (ASA) for hexagonally arranged data sampling elements
Blast resistant window
Compact folded Y-junction waveguide
Compact high-bandwidth, low-signal-error waveguide
Dynamic image registration
Efficient Hexagonally Sampled Image Processing
Image enhancement using object profiling


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Fuzes Research and Development Facility
LADAR Development and Evaluation Research Facility (LDERF)
Prototype Munitions Fabrication Lab
Advanced Navigation Laboratory
Electrooptics and Millimeter Wave Lab
Environmental Science Lab
High Explosives Research and Development (HERD) Facility
Munitions Directorate Technical Library

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AFRL Scholars Industry Partnership Program

The Air Force Research Laboratory Munitions Directorate (AFRL/RW) and Cummings Aerospace have partnered to provide a unique internship experience for college engineering students. Under a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement, the two parties developed an internship program that will allow college students in the AFRL Scholars Program to be mentored by scientists from both Cummings Aerospace and the Munitions Directorate. The students will work at the Directorate’s Dynamic Materials Characterization Laboratory at Eglin Air Force Base and at the Cummings Aerospace facility in nearby Valparaiso.

The intern topic was, "High performance, low-cost structural materials are of great importance to the AF mission. The goal of this project is to develop an understanding between the processing/microstructure of newly designed alloys and additive manufacturing processes with that of the dynamic mechanical response.” This project involves characterization of the microstructure using optical/electron microscopy as well as quasi-static and dynamic mechanical testing using mechanical test frames. Students will also be responsible for designing and conducting thermal process experiments to develop an improved understanding of phase stability and transformations. Students will be trained on the equipment, and be expected to work as a team with technicians and scientists to accomplish tasks related to develop data and an understanding for new prototype material systems."

CRADA Outcome

“The collaboration between AFRL and Cummings Aerospace, enabled by the CRADA, will provide both interns and their mentors with valuable insight into industry and Air Force technologies and capabilities to develop the next generation of weapons,” said Cummings Aerospace President and Chief Executive Officer, Sheila Cummings. Additionally, this opportunity demonstrates the committed relationship and shared strategic vision between industry and AFRL to find new and innovative ways to address the challenges of future weapons science and technology needs.” 

Photo courtesy of AFRL.

The CRADA was initially executed for 18 months; however, the collaboration between AFRL/RW, Cummings Aerospace, and the Intern was such a success the CRADA has been extended for a 5-year term. Additionally, Mr. Brian Mitchell, the AFRL/RW STEM Education Outreach Coordinator, has been approached by other companies wanting information about the program and how they can enter into a CRADA with the Munitions Directorate.

Mr. Steve McClendon (Cummings Aerospace-Alec Savile (Intern)-Dr. Rachel Abrahams (AFRL_RWM). Photo courtesy of AFRL.


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