DOD Awards $25.5 Million For Hypersonic Research

A common hypersonic glide body launches from Pacific Missile Range Facility, Kauai, Hawaii, during a Defense Department flight experiment. Courtesy: Department of Defense

Defense officials have awarded 18 university-led research projects $25.5 million in contracts aimed at boosting hypersonic technology development, the Department of Defense announced this week.

The contracts, which are set to be distributed over three years, were awarded by DOD through the University Consortium for Applied Hypersonics (UCAH) to research teams that also include 15 industry partners and three National Laboratories.

“Each project is led by a UCAH university partner, bringing together expertise from across the nation to tackle tough hypersonic problems,” said Gillian Bussey, director of the Joint Hypersonics Transition Office, which chartered and operates the consortium.

Prototyping projects supported by the contracts include research into composites, multi-modal control of flight dynamics, and wind tunnel experiments and simulations.

“Collaboration across disciplines and between different players in the hypersonic world is essential if we’re going to move forward in developing capabilities and our workforce,” Bussey said. “This is one of the key reasons we established the University Consortium last year, and I was very pleased to see that the proposals we received incorporated strong, multi-organizational and cross-disciplinary teams.”

The projects will also help develop a hypersonic industrial workforce, according to the DOD.

“These projects allow us to move our capabilities to the next rung up the ladder, and also provide a way to engage students in hypersonic research and connect with industry and the national labs, building the workforce we will need in the future,” Bussey said.

Here is UCAH’s list of awardees for the first project call:

  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign: Non-Destructive Testing for Hypersonics Materials Manufacturing of Carbon/Carbon Composites
  • Georgia Institute of Technology: Machine Learning Enhanced Ultrasonic Inspection for Non-Destructive Characterization of Manufacturing Defects in Hypersonic Materials
  • Georgia Institute of Technology: Improved Window and Radome Material Testing for Hypersonic Vehicle Sensors and Seekers.
  • Georgia Institute of Technology: Development and Experimental Validation of Multi-Modal Control for Rapidly-Changing Flight Dynamics
  • North Carolina Agricultural and Technical: Impact Welding and Phase Change Enabled Sealing of High Temperature Metal-Composite Interfaces
  • University of Virginia: Additive Manufacturing of High-Performance Niobium Alloys Components for Scramjet Applications: Going Beyond Alloy C103
  • Pennsylvania State University: Next Generation Numerical Methods for High-Fidelity Trajectory Generation for Hypersonic Vehicles
  • University of Michigan: Robust Adaptive Control of a Dual-Mode Scramjet with Targeted Uncertainty Quantification
  • University of Central Florida: High-Performance Solid-Fuels for Hypersonic Air Breathing Propulsion
  • The University of Texas at Arlington: Experimental and Numerical Investigation of Directed Energy Radiation Interactions for Hypersonic Applications
  • University of Arizona: Fusion of Multi-Fidelity Experimental and Computational Data for the Construction and Enrichment of a Surrogate Aerodynamic Database
  • United States Air Force Academy: Free Flight Wind Tunnel Experiments and Simulations for Control Jet Applications in Hypersonic Flows
  • Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station: Shock Interface Cooling in Hypersonic Environments
  • The University of Texas at San Antonio: Modeling and Experimental Measurements of Hypersonic Separation Events
  • Air Force Institute of Technology: Efficient Multidisciplinary Optimization Methodologies for Hypersonic Systems
  • Johns Hopkins University: Machine-Learning Informed Topology Optimization for Multiscale Design of Cellular Structures
  • University of Iowa: Energetic Materials Selection and Micro-Structural Design for Robust Performance Under Damage Scenarios
  • University of Alabama-Huntsville: Solid Fuel Rotating Detonation Ramjet Engine for Hypersonic Air-Breathing Propulsion

Additional consortium research and prototyping contracts will be awarded over the next several years, according to the DOD.

Kimberly is managing editor of FLYING Digital.

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