Senior officials with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District, alongside Air Force officials, helped break ground on a $34.4-million Joint Simulation Environment facility Feb. 18 at Edwards Air Force Base.
Col. Julie Balten, commander of the Corps’ LA District, was present during the groundbreaking ceremony to celebrate the project, which is slated for completion in August 2022.
“The Corps has an outstanding relationship with Edwards Air Force Base and the 412th Civil Engineer Squadron,” Balten said. “I am honored to be present at this ceremony to witness the groundbreaking of this important facility.”
The ceremony was organized by the 412th Electronic Warfare Group, Edwards AFB.
Maj. Gen. Christopher Azzano, commander of the Air Force Test Center at Edwards Air Force Base, said the multi-story ground test facility – which is being constructed by the Corps and its contractors – will house simulators to test fifth-generation aircraft capabilities.
“This 72,000-square-foot facility will offer state-of-the-art modeling and simulation capabilities to support next-generation tests and evaluation, as well as advanced training and tactics,” Azzano said.
The facility can accommodate multi-level security, with multiple airframes and weapon systems, and will house up to eight high-fidelity simulators, he said. It also will include mission planning and control rooms; a cyber and space operations room; a 120-seat-mission observation auditorium; and a 12,000-square-foot hardware in the loop area with an antenna platform for live-virtual constructive support.”
The project was awarded in August 2020, and construction is expected to begin in March.
The JSE aims to replicate dense-threat environments that can’t be realized strictly with open-air test resources, Azzano said.
“JSE will support future force design impacting the tactical, operational and strategic levels of war,” he said. “It will integrate virtual and constructive elements with live open-air test and training … a lot hinges on JSE, and we are committed to its success.”
Another Joint Simulation Environment facility was awarded by the Corps’ LA District June 19, 2020, at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada. Air Force officials broke ground on the 52,000-square-foot facility there in November 2020.
The Joint Simulation Environment facility planning team is a collaboration of partners from the JSE project office, Headquarters Air Force, Air Force Materiel Command, Air Force Civil Engineering Center, Air Force Test Center, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Navy, and civil engineering organizations at Nellis and Edwards air force bases.
“Thank you for moving us one step closer to making JSE a foundation for rapid capability development,” Azzano said. “For today, we begin a new chapter in accelerating change.”