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Update: Seven companies receive US Air Force Hypersonics Pitch Day contracts

12 November 2019
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Seven of the nine companies invited to propose at the US Air Force's (USAF's) inaugural Hypersonics Pitch Day (HPD) on 1 November earned contracts with some able to potentially earn USD1 million.

Ursa Major Technologies, UES, Spectral Energies, Powdermet, GoHypersonic, Advanced Silicon Group, and Fourth State Communications LLC were awarded contracts. Goodman Technologies and FAAC did not win awards.

Advanced Silicon Group is using laser chemical vapor deposition to grow specialty fibres (centre); including metals, semiconductors, and insulators; for use in hypersonics. The company was awarded a contract at the US Air Force's first Hypersonics Pitch Day. (Advanced Silicon Group)Advanced Silicon Group is using laser chemical vapor deposition to grow specialty fibres (centre); including metals, semiconductors, and insulators; for use in hypersonics. The company was awarded a contract at the US Air Force's first Hypersonics Pitch Day. (Advanced Silicon Group)

These companies were 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.

The USAF said prior to the HPD that all invited companies were eligible to win contracts worth up to USD750,000, including same-day initial payments of USD50,000. But a pair of winners, Spectral Energies and Advanced Silicon Group, told Jane's that their companies can earn as much as USD1 million.

Sivaram Gogineni, Spectral Energies president and senior research engineer, said on 11 November that his company was awarded USD50,000 for the up-front payment and a USD650,000 12-month contract. Spectral Energies can make another USD300,000 by reaching USAF approved milestones, which Gogineni did not elaborate on.

Spectral Energies proposed developing a high-fidelity optical tracking tool for hypersonic free-flight model testing in wind tunnels. Gogineni said a user would be able to get high-accuracy data that would be useful for modelers and design engineers for designing and building future hypersonic weapon and flight systems using this tool.

The deliverables for Spectral Energies' contract, he said, are the software, data from the model that is of interest to the USAF, and appropriate documentation. Spectral Energies must deliver the software in 12 months and make a demonstration in 12-15 months.

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