The US Department of Defense announced it would award Texas A&M University’s Engineering Experiment Station $20 million per year over a 5-year period to establish and manage a University Consortium for Applied Hypersonics (UCAH).
“This first-of-its kind consortium will be critical to advancing hypersonics research and innovation, a key priority of the Department of Defense,” said Michael Kratsios, Acting Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering.
“Importantly, through collaborative industry and academic partnerships, it will also accelerate technology transfer and strengthen workforce development to meet the nation’s future warfighting needs.”
The UCAH, which is expected to begin operations this fall, will provide a new path for the services, defense research agencies, and other government organizations, such as NASA and the US Department of Energy, to collaborate with DoD, the nation’s colleges and universities, and industry to pursue promising basic and applied research and transition research into future systems.
The consortium will concentrate on developing hypersonic technologies, investigate efficiencies related to the industrial base, and strengthen partnerships with small and large companies to transition technology and reduce system development timelines.
“We often have difficulty transitioning department-funded basic research from universities through industry to operational applications,” said Dr. Mark Lewis, Acting Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering and Director of Defense Research and Engineering for Modernization. “It is a particular challenge in hypersonics, where multiple disciplines must intersect precisely to move forward. The consortium will help us link a deeper understanding of our operational requirements to the exceptional research being conducted across the nation.”
In setting the foundation for the UCAH, the Department’s Joint Hypersonics Transition Office sought input from academic institutions across the nation. “Today’s announcement reflects the feedback of almost 70 schools across 48 states,” said Dr. Gillian Bussey, director, Joint Hypersonics Transition Office. “This interest, leadership, and focus they provided will help ensure that the Consortium will be effective and that our nation’s best minds and researchers will be participating.”
The UCAH will be managed by the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station (TEES), with leadership from of one of the foremost hypersonic researchers, Dr. Rodney Bowersox. Initial operations will begin under the guidance of a board of national experts from Texas A&M, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of Minnesota, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the University of Arizona, the University of Tennessee Space Institute, Morgan State University, the California Institute of Technology, Purdue, the University of California-Los Angeles, and the Georgia Institute of Technology.