Texas A&M to Lead First-of-its-Kind Hypersonics Consortium for DOD
The Defense Department reported on October 26 that it had awarded a $20 million per year contract to Texas A&M University's Engineering Experiment Station (TEES) to establish and manage the University Consortium for Applied Hypersonics, known as UCAH. The award has a base year and four additional optional years of $20 million, with a total value of up to $100 million.
"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 undersecretary of defense for research and engineering. "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 will work with military services, defense research agencies and other government organizations, such as NASA and the Energy Department. The consortium will also collaborate with small, medium and large companies and other academic research centers to pursue basic and applied research in hypersonics and transition that research into future systems.
A leading researcher in hypersonics, Rodney Bowersox, from TEES, will manage the consoritum, which will be stood up in the next few weeks, DOD reported. While UCAH will be leading the research, an interim governing board will oversee the consoritum's efforts. The board will include 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 University, the University of California-Los Angeles and the Georgia Institute of Technology. DOD noted that the board will help align team consortium members within and across disciplines through both technical areas and cross-functional teams.
Already, 41 institutions from 23 states have committed to participating in the UCAH, and officials expect the members to grow to include other institutions from across the United States as well as Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom, DOD stated.