U.S. Army, Texas A&M building nation's largest hypersonic testing center
BRYAN, Texas - The Texas A&M University System Regents cast their votes to help transform how the U.S Army prepares for future combat after approving $79.3 million for a Tech Innovation Complex at the RELLIS Campus in Central Texas.
“This is a historic vote,” said John Sharp, chancellor of The Texas A&M University System. “Today’s vote will not only transform Texas A&M and the RELLIS campus, it will transform Central Texas and the U.S. Army.”
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According to the school, construction of the Bush Combat Development Complex is set to begin this fall after the regents voted to amend the university system's capital budget. The school says the nation's "biggest enclosed-tube hypersonic testing facility" and testing grounds for both air and land combat vehicles will be built at Texas A&M's RELLIS campus.
"The facilities are key to accomplishing the Austin-based US Army Futures Command’s modernization mission by allowing soldiers from Fort Hood and the A&M Corps of Cadets to test high-tech prototypes as they are being developed," the school wrote in a press release.
According to the school, the complex will feature the nation's only kilometer-long (.06 mile) hypersonic facility. This facility will help determine the best design and materials for the fastest vehicles ever built, the school stated.
“Texas A&M and the RELLIS campus will become a nexus for collaboration and high-tech testing in service to our nation’s security,” said Elaine Mendoza, chairman of the A&M System board. “Today’s vote will bring hundreds of millions worth of private investment to Central Texas as these facilities come to life. Simply put, this is where American defense contractors will want to set up shop if they want to work with the U.S. Army Futures Command.”
The complex will also have laboratories, runways, underground and open-air ranges alongside a "resilient network of sensors and systems for experimentation, data collection, analysis, and storage."
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Within the RELLIS campus sits the headquarters of the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station (TEES) which has already signed a $65 million "cooperative research agreement" with the Combat Capabilities Development Command (CCDC)-Army Research Laboratory (ARL). TEES was also appropriated $50 million from the 86th Texas State Legislature which was transferred via Gov. Greg Abbott for "Army Futures Command efforts."
“Our culture of service grows out a rich military tradition,” said M. Katherine Banks, Vice Chancellor of Engineering and National Laboratories at Texas A&M. “Through the A&M Corps of Cadets, our university produces more U.S. officers than any university besides the nation’s service-branch academies.”