LIFT and the DoD launch two new Hypersonics Challenge Projects With Boeing

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Boeing Hypersonics challenge projects
Above: Boeing Hypersonics challenge projects/Source: Lift

LIFT, the Detroit-based Department of Defense manufacturing innovation institute, and the Department of Defense (DoD) announced the launch of two Hypersonics Challenge projects led by Boeing.

LIFT and the DoD, in collaboration with Boeing, announced and launched Hypersonics Challenge projects with ATC Materials, Inc., Lockheed Martin, and Raytheon Technologies.

Boeing Hypersonics Challenge Projects

The First Project, in collaboration with Powdermet, Inc., aims to demonstrate near-net-shape fabrication of metal matrix composite components for hypersonic vehicle demonstrators. When combined with near-net-shape manufacturing approaches, these high-performance, high-temperature alloys will provide quality mission critical components that are durable, reliable, and rapidly manufacturable.

“These projects will benefit the entire American manufacturing base, helping spur technology development from material producers all the way up to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs)”

– Austin Mann, Metallurgist/Materials Engineer, Boeing Research & Technology and lead on the first project

The Second Project proposes to develop and validate a suite of in-situ build process monitoring sensors and non-destructive evaluation (NDE) approaches applicable to laser-directed energy deposition (L-DED) manufacturing for hypersonic applications with partners RPM Innovations, Inc. and Intelligent Optical Systems, Inc. In-process monitoring will help inform the quality of the build during the process, saving time and expensive metal powders.

“Cost-effective approaches to developing hypersonic components that are reliable and rapidly producible are critical to our national security, and these projects will lead us down that path.”

– Taisia Lou, Boeing Additive Manufacturing Senior Engineer, and lead on the second project

Advancing United States’ Hypersonic Manufacturing Capabilities

These projects are part of the Hypersonics Challenge, which was launched in 2021 by LIFT and the Department of Defense Manufacturing Technology Program, which is overseen by the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering. The challenge sought proposals on three specific topics important to the materials science and manufacturing of hypersonic vehicles.

Both of these projects aim to advance the United States’ hypersonic manufacturing capabilities at a lower cost and in less time.

According to Nigel Francis, Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director, LIFT, “Understanding the materials and how they react to processing so components are near-net shape will help make the development and manufacture of hypersonic components faster, better, and cheaper for the U.S. industrial base, therefore advancing our position in this key technology area, relative to our adversaries.”

The final projects awarded through the challenge are the Boeing projects. A team comprised of LIFT and the Department of Defense decided on project awards. Technological merit, technology readiness level (TRL), manufacturing readiness level (MRL), funding requirements, cost-share commitment, ITAR compliance, and LIFT member engagement are among the decision criteria.

LIFT and the DoD, in collaboration with Boeing, announced and launched Hypersonics Challenge projects with ATC Materials, Inc., Lockheed Martin, and Raytheon Technologies.

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