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October 25, 2014

DARPA Wants to Chop Military Materials Development Time From 10 to 2.5 Years

Say you’re trying to design a hypersonic plane. It will have to deal with shell temperatures of several thousands of degrees of steel-melting heat.

That’s where the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency plans to start — with an “outer aerodynamic shell for a hypersonic vehicle that would glide through the atmosphere” — in testing a new development concept for speeding up the deployment of new military materials into the field.

Right now, that can take a decade or more, according to DARPA. The agency wants to get it down to more like two and a half years.

“Ideally, we could envision materials development happening on time scales more in line with modern commercial automobile development,” said Mick Maher, DARPA program manager.

The agency is planning to talk to potential bidders next week about what it’s looking for, and an official solicitation is just around the corner, too.

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