Release
Immediate Release

Defense Department Awards University Consortium for Applied Hypersonics Contract

Oct. 26, 2020

The Department of Defense announced it will be awarding 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. 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,” said Michael Kratsios, Acting Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering.

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 U.S. 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 Nation’s foremost hypersonic researchers, Dr. Rodney Bowersox.  Initial operations will begin under the guidance of an impressive 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. 

Their approach incorporates teaming with industry, harnesses the strength of the nation’s University-Affiliated Research Centers (UARCs) and Federally-Funded Research and Development Centers (FFRDCs), fosters closer and more meaningful engagement of our university experts with the government, and presents a plan for maximum inclusion of academic institutions prepared to contribute to our national needs in hypersonics.  

The approach also includes strong focus on modelling and test capabilities, which will facilitate earlier and more certain transition to developing systems. TEES has already identified more than 41 institutions from at least 23 states committed to participating in the UCAH, and the Department expects this number to increase in upcoming months to include additional institutions from across the country and from Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom.

About OUSD(R&E) 

The Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering is responsible for the research, development, and prototyping activities across the Department of Defense.  OUSD(R&E) fosters technological dominance across the DoD ensuring the unquestioned superiority of the American joint force.  Learn more at www.cto.mil or follow us on Twitter:  @DoDCTO.