National security innovation brings Undersecretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks to Purdue

Dr. Hicks tours the university’s research and development facilities

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Purdue University’s strength in advanced aerospace technologies, energetic materials, semiconductors and hypersonic research speaks to the university’s future in US national security and shows why the US Undersecretary at Defense Kathleen Hicks and her advisers toured the campus Thursday (August 18) during a tour of critical research facilities.

As a hub of innovation, Purdue attracts talented faculty who lead high-tech manufacturing and facilitate quality placement for students. Projects such as the multi-faceted High Speed ​​Propulsion Laboratory and Hypersonic Applied Research Facility (HARF) mark advances in national security and reflect the interest and investment of partners in industry and the government.

Hicks received first-hand insight into Purdue’s focus on national security at Maurice J. Zucrow Laboratories, the Birck Nanotechnology Center and other facilities during a campus tour.

A student works on the Split Hopkinson bar test setup. This test setup can be used to characterize the behavior of materials (such as concrete and steel) at high strain rates. (Photo Purdue University/Charles Jischke) Download image

“Purdue is deeply honored to welcome the Assistant Secretary and her team to a campus proud to contribute in every way possible to the cause of our national security,” said Purdue Chairman Mitch Daniels. “We are investing heavily in infrastructure, human and physical, to design, test and develop the systems necessary to protect the freedoms enjoyed by Americans. As home to some of the world’s brightest researchers in areas critical to national defense, Purdue has a special ability and, therefore, a duty to do its part, and we will.

Throughout her journey, Dr. Hicks focused on linking departmental resources with our country’s strategic priorities, including the growing threat from our close global competitors, and ensuring that the Department of Defense remains the world leader in advanced innovation.

Purdue’s investments in hypersonics and aerospace technology position the university as a key partner for industry and government national defense projects. Hypersonics is a critical focus area under Purdue’s Next Moves, strategic initiatives designed to advance the university’s competitive advantage.

Purdue has already established its excellence in other key research areas considered critical to national security, including microelectronics. Strategic initiatives such as the first comprehensive semiconductor degree program aim to prepare a next-generation workforce for the industry, while a separate partnership with SkyWater Technology will result in a future state-of-the-art semiconductors.

The University began expanding its footprint as a national security hub more than two years ago with announced plans to expand the world’s first silent Mach 8 wind tunnel. It will join the existing Mach 6 tunnel on campus as well as a hypersonic pulse (HYPULSE) reflected shock/expansion tunnel, and the establishment of the Purdue Applied Research Institute, a new nonprofit research arm of the university.

The High Speed ​​Propulsion Laboratory announced in April was preceded by projects such as the Hypersonics Applied Research Facility (HARF), which will house both the Mach 8 and HYPULSE Reflect/Shock Expansion Tunnel as well as the Hypersonic Advanced Manufacturing Technology Center (HAMTC).

In February, Purdue was selected by the Air Force Research Labs (AFRL) as the main academic partner and the headquarters for the AFRL – Midwest Regional Research Center. The selection places Purdue at the center of a dozen academic partners and 50 industry partners in 12 states working to advance research and development in critical areas of national security.

The abundance of new facilities has resulted in new industry partnerships and investments at Purdue, including Rolls-Royce, GE Additive, Dynetics, Lockheed Martin and Boeing.

About Purdue University

Purdue University is a leading public research institution that develops practical solutions to today’s toughest challenges. Ranked in each of the past four years as one of the 10 most innovative universities in the United States by US News & World Report, Purdue delivers groundbreaking research and groundbreaking discoveries. Committed to hands-on, online, real-world learning, Purdue provides transformative education for all. Committed to affordability and accessibility, Purdue has frozen tuition and most fees at 2012-13 levels, allowing more students than ever to graduate debt-free. Learn how Purdue never stops in the persistent pursuit of the next giant leap at

Media contact: Brian Huchel, [email protected]

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