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US Air Force budgets USD6.75 million in prize money for upcoming Hypersonics Pitch Day

01 November 2019
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The US Air Force (USAF) has budgeted USD6.75 million in prize money that could be spread among nine competitors at its first-ever Hypersonics Pitch Day (HPD) on 7 November.

Nine companies have been invited to propose based on how their technology contributes to cracking one of the many challenges associated with hypersonic flight. These include mitigating extreme high temperatures, creating unique aerodynamic configurations, and fashioning propulsion systems able to power a weapon at Mach 5 speed or higher.

An image of the GT-nanoSHIELD that Goodman Technologies will propose at the USAF's upcoming Hypersonics Pitch Day. It is a hybrid composite of a high temperature thermal protection system on the outside with an underlying shield against electromagnetic interference, electromagnetic pulse, and the effects of a nuclear explosion. (Goodman Technologies)An image of the GT-nanoSHIELD that Goodman Technologies will propose at the USAF's upcoming Hypersonics Pitch Day. It is a hybrid composite of a high temperature thermal protection system on the outside with an underlying shield against electromagnetic interference, electromagnetic pulse, and the effects of a nuclear explosion. (Goodman Technologies)

All nine companies can win contracts worth up to USD750,000. Additionally, winning companies will receive same-day initial payments of USD50,000, USAF spokesperson Ilka Cole said on 1 November. Companies that win contracts will receive a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II contract award for a 12-month period of performance with potential for a Phase 2 award, Cole said.

GoHypersonic, UES, Powdermet, Ursa Major Technologies, Spectral Energies, Goodman Technologies, Advanced Silicon Group, Fourth State Communications LLC, and FAAC Inc have been selected to present at the HPD in Niceville, Florida.

Bill Goodman, Goodman Technologies president and CEO, told Jane’s on 1 November that his company would offer its GT-nanoSHIELD. This is a 61 sq cm tile that is a hybrid composite of a high temperature thermal protection system on the outside with an underlying shield against electromagnetic interference, electromagnetic pulse, and the effects of a nuclear explosion.

Goodman said his key discriminator is that he has a solution for both high temperatures and survivability against a nuclear threat. Goodman said he has tested his technology against weapons-type effects at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, and at the Air Force Research Laboratory’s (AFRL’s) Dayton, Ohio, facility. The data from the tests was so good, Goodman said, that he cannot share it with system prime contractors, only the federal government.

The invited companies will present to a USAF panel of experts chaired by Lieutenant General Duke Richardson, military deputy to Will Roper, the USAF assistant secretary for acquisition, technology, and logistics.

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