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Pentagon awards Texas A&M $100 million to manage hypersonic weapons development consortium

The University Consortium for Applied Hypersonics will include national experts from top institutions

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An exterior view of Kyle Field at Texas A&M University
An exterior view of Kyle Field at Texas A&M University
(Ronald Martinez / Getty Images)
Updated: October 27, 2020 - 3:45pm

The Pentagon will award Texas A&M University $100 million to create an academic program committed to developing hypersonic weapons.

The money will be distributed over the next five years. 

Pentagon officials said that establishing a University Consortium for Applied Hypersonics is a top priority of theirs and a key step toward advancing research and innovation in the field of U.S. defense. A hypersonic weapon is one capable of traveling at five times the speed of sound.

The United States, as well as its top adversaries, including Russia and China, have long sought the ability to design and produce missiles capable of traveling at hypersonic speeds. A weapon capable of that type of acceleration would likely not be any match for current anti-missile defense systems. 

The program is expected to begin operations this fall and will work in conjunction with several government agencies in addition to DOD, including NASA and the Energy Department.  

“The consortium will help us link a deeper understanding of our operational requirements to the exceptional research being conducted across the nation," said Mark Lewis, acting deputy undersecretary of Defense for Research and Engineering.

The consortium will initially be overseen by a group of national experts from top institutions including MIT, the California Institute of Technology, UCLA, Purdue University, and the Georgia Institute of Technology. 

The number of institutions expected to participate in the Consortium will increase over the next months to include institutions from the Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom.