Rolls-Royce has joined as the founding member of a new testing facility at Purdue University to support research efforts in hypersonic technology.

The new Hypersonics Ground Test Center (HGTC) is planned to be located adjacent to the Purdue University campus, a national testing facility for hypersonics research and aerospace technology developments.

The facility is expected to serve as a ‘central shared utility’ that supports multiple test cells and laboratories.

Last month, the university and research foundation announced plans for the construction of the 65,000ft² Hypersonic Applied Research Facility, which will serve as home to the world’s only Mach 8 quiet wind tunnel, as well as a hypersonic pulse (HYPULSE) shock tunnel.

Rolls-Royce made a major announcement earlier this month stating that it would make a significant expansion of its already large footprint at Purdue.

These new test facilities will be used for the development of high-altitude and hybrid-electric engines to be equipped on US military aircraft.

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Rolls-Royce North America chairman and CEO Tom Bell said: “We credit leadership from the state of Indiana, Purdue University and Purdue Research Foundation for their important vision and investment leading to the creation of the Hypersonics Ground Test Center.

“Rolls-Royce has a unique history in high-speed propulsion, dating to the Concorde aircraft and 30 years of experience on hypersonics research with our Department of Defense customers through our LibertyWorks advanced technology unit in Indianapolis.”

The new HGTC test centre will support the US national defence strategy, allowing several aerospace firms to improve their test capability.

The US Department of Defense (DoD) currently considers hypersonic capability a major priority, with seven active key rapid prototyping projects in development. All these projects have a combined value of $3bn in annual funding.

Purdue president Mitch Daniels said: “Becoming home to the nation’s premier hypersonics facilities can make such a contribution while providing enormous new opportunities for our researchers, aspiring entrepreneurs, and job-seeking graduates.”

The new facility will be administered by a new non-profit consortium of national defence industry partners. The consortium will manage capital and operational costs.

Last October, Purdue University received a Hypersonic Pulse (HYPULSE) shock tunnel to boost its hypersonics research capabilities. Donated by Northrop Grumman, the capability will make Purdue the second US university to provide such a capability.

Recently, Northrop Grumman broke ground on a new engineering and hypersonic production facility at Elkton, Maryland, US.