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Pentagon spearheads $20M hypersonics research project at Texas A&M

Pentagon spearheads $20M hypersonics research project at Texas A&M
A common hypersonic glide body launches from Pacific Missile Range Facility, Kauai, Hawaii, in March during a Department of Defense flight experiment. Photo by U.S. Navy/UPI | License Photo

Oct. 27 (UPI) -- The Pentagon has awarded a $100 million contract to Texas A&M University to do research on hypersonic weapons.

Texas A&M will lead a research effort to look into dozens of different types of hypersonic weapons in an effort to stay ahead of Russia and China in this area of weapons development.

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"We are in a bit of a race right now," said Mark Lewis, acting deputy undersecretary of Defense for research and engineering, in a Monday press call.

Lewis, who is also director of defense research and engineering for modernization, noted that China works closely with universities in helping develop hypersonic weapons.

According to Gillian Bussey, head of the joint Hypersonic Transition Office, universities in the United States, Australia, Britain and Canada are eligible to work on the program.

But Bussey also said Texas A&M has strict counterintelligence protocols in place and the Pentagon will also screen participants for classified work.

Last week Boeing received a $30 million contract to develop a high-speed missile demonstrator for the Navy -- one that could reach hypersonic speeds,.

Earlier this month the Pentagon also established a Joint Hypersonics Transition Office Systems Engineering Field Activity at the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Crane, Ind.

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