Air Force to host May hypersonics S&T meeting

By Briana Reilly / January 20, 2022 at 11:11 AM

The Air Force is planning to gather industry partners for a May meeting to bolster collaboration between business and government in hypersonics-related independent research and development, a recent notice shows.

The Hypersonics IR&D Technology Interchange Meeting, slated for May 23-27 at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, OH, will bring together defense officials across a number of agencies “with active roles in hypersonics" science and technology to provide feedback on industry’s potential research investments and other presented material, according to the notice.

Those interested in participating are directed to submit up to five IR&D abstracts and corporate investments by mid-February, with an evaluation of those abstracts completed the following month, according to a schedule accompanying the notice. Companies in April will then be notified which abstracts are selected for the meeting, and those chosen would need to submit briefings to the Air Force’s IR&D team in early May.

During the meeting, which the notice says is “intended to foster mutual awareness, increase collaboration, and identify alignment between industry’s independent research investments and DAF hypersonics-related science and technology needs,” company presenters will receive input on the “relevance and criticality” of their material.

The planned event comes as the Defense Department works to up the speed of hypersonic testing while decreasing associated costs. Meanwhile, at the Air Force level, where Secretary Frank Kendall has expressed his dissatisfaction with the service’s pace on hypersonics development, he this week cautioned against “mirror-imaging the potential threats” from China in the hypersonics realm, noting the U.S. doesn’t “have the same targets that they’re worried about.”

“We have to think about what’s most cost effective for us,” Kendall said during an online Center for a New American Security event yesterday. “And while I do think there is a role for hypersonics in that mix, and I think we should continue with and proceed with developing and fielding appropriate hypersonics, I think we have to look very carefully at the targets that we’re interested in and at the most cost-effective way to deal with that. And I think that’s still very much an open question for me.”