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Immediate Release

Department of Defense Awards $2 Million for Universities to Research Hypersonics Technologies

The DoD announced today that four universities have been selected for one-year, $500,000 applied research awards to advance hypersonics technology. The awardees are:

The Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station (TEES) will develop navigation systems to maintain the stability of the feedback control system for hypersonic vehicles. Researchers will apply multiphysics modeling approaches to identify and characterize drift of navigation sensors operating in degraded environments.  The combined developments will create the Rate-Limited Information-Fusion, Learning, and Estimation System (RIFLES), which will advance the state of practice in robust navigation and information fusion. The research will be undertaken by Texas A&M University (TAMU), the Pennsylvania State University, the University of Michigan, the Ohio State University, Sandia National Laboratories, and the Boeing Company.

The University of Virginia (UVA) will develop a scramjet system improvement enabling hypersonic vehicles to operate across a broad range of flight conditions. Researchers will investigate the parameters that enable nanosecond discharge to enhance ignition and stabilize flameholding over a higher Mach number range. This will contribute towards the development of a hypersonic vehicle that is operational across broad flight conditions. This project will be undertaken by the University of Virginia, the University of South Wales, the Ohio State University, the University of Arizona, the Air Force Research Laboratory, FGC Plasma Solutions, and the Lockheed Martin Corporation.

The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) will design and develop novel concepts and technologies to enable hypersonic vehicles to achieve precise velocities and altitudes for various missions. Researchers will investigate active burn-rate control of propellant grains to develop a control mechanism tailored to the propellant composition to support different mission requirements. Experimental and simulation experiments will be performed at the UAH Propulsion Research Center with the CFD Research Corporation.  

Florida International University (FIU) will present a solution for monitoring the health and status of hypersonic aeroshells. Researchers will analyze the inverse relationship between the presence of mechanical defects in the aeroshell and the rapid onset of heating due to those defects. This project will be undertaken by FIU, the University of Rhode Island, and the Raytheon Technologies Research Center.

The University Consortium for Applied Hypersonics (UCAH) and the Joint Hypersonics Transition Office (JHTO) manage these research awards. One of the main objectives of UCAH and JHTO is workforce development. Involved undergraduate and graduate students will have the opportunity to gain direct technical hypersonics and industry experience by engaging in their projects.

About USD(R&E) 

The Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering (USD(R&E) is the Chief Technology Officer of the Department of Defense. The USD(R&E) champions research, science, technology, engineering, and innovation to maintain the United States military’s technological advantage. Learn more at, follow us on Twitter @DoDCTO, or visit us on LinkedIn at