Detroit LIFT Accepting Proposals for Hypersonic Aircraft Technology

LIFT, the Department of Defense-supported national manufacturing innovation institute in Corktown, is accepting proposals for its Hypersonics Challenge through July 2.
LIFT Hypersonics Challenge
LIFT is accepting proposals for its Hypersonics Challenge, which deals with materials and manufacturing techniques for vehicles that fly at and above Mach 5, through July 2. // Image courtesy of LIFT

LIFT, the Department of Defense-supported national manufacturing innovation institute in Corktown, is accepting proposals for its Hypersonics Challenge through July 2.

Open to the entire U.S. manufacturing industrial sector, the Hypersonics Challenge is a call for project proposals on three specific topics dealing with materials for and the manufacture of hypersonic vehicles, which operate at speeds of Mach 5 or higher.

“Hypersonics systems are the most pressing issue for our national defense going forward,” says Ashley Brawner, of the DoD’s Joint Hypersonics Transition Office. “By partnering with LIFT on issuing this challenge, we are calling upon the brainpower and innovativeness of the American manufacturing base to help us maintain our global leadership in hypersonics materials, manufacturing and systems.”

One proposal will be selected on each of the following topics:

Topic 1: Seeks to develop modeling and simulation and integrated computational materials engineering (ICME) tools to improve understanding of material processing, resulting materials structure and properties, and appropriate selection of materials for given hypersonics applications. Primary materials of interest include high temperature composites additively manufactured metals, and coatings.

Topic 2: Advanced manufacturing methods including, but not limited to, in-situ sensing and non-destructive inspection (NDI) techniques to ensure reliable and repeatable manufacturing of hypersonic components to ensure successful operation.

Topic 3: Seeks alternative production methods for high-temperature composites, and their feedstock materials, relevant to hypersonic vehicle aeroshell glide body, leading edge, control surface, and nose tip components that increase yield, throughput, reliability, and affordability compared to traditional labor-intensive and subtractive billet-to-part manufacturing.

“Our national security and national economy rest on the United States’ manufacturing base,” says Nigel Francis, CEO and executive director of LIFT. “And we know that the manufacturing base, not only in LIFT’s ecosystem, but across the country, will step up and respond to this challenge with the ingenuity we are known for.”

Project awards will be determined by a team consisting of LIFT and the Department of Defense. Decision criteria includes technological merit; technology readiness level and manufacturing readiness level; funding requirements; cost-share commitment; ITAR compliance; and LIFT member engagement.

Challenge participants must be International Traffic in Arms Regulations compliant. Selected projects will be provided up to $1 million for project development, not including cost-share, which is encouraged, but not required. Project duration will be 12 months, with up to three months available for reporting.

Proposals may be submitted by LIFT members, as well as non-members. Award recipients, however, must join LIFT at a Silver tier or higher.

More information is shared below, and the proposal template can be found here.

Winners will be announced in August and projects will start in October.

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