The US Air Force has awarded a contract to Black & Veatch Special Projects Corp. of Overland Park, Kan., to build an advanced laser research facility at Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico. The 29,600-sq-ft facility will house research and development of chemical, electrical and hybrid lasers used in air-, ground- and space-based systems. Architects have planned six major laboratories in the facility, including two dedicated to chemical laser work, such as the chemical oxygen-iodine laser developed by the Air Force's Phillips Laboratory. The chemical oxygen-iodine laser is a key component of laser-equipped aircraft designed to defend against ballistic missiles. The other four laboratories will be used for solid-state and electrical laser research.