January 22, 2021

Purdue, Lockheed Martin announce major research partnership

Agreement between university and global security and aerospace leader will advance key work in hypersonics, other areas

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Representatives from Purdue University and Lockheed Martin on Thursday (Jan. 21) signed a master research agreement (MRA), furthering an alliance between one of the largest global security and aerospace companies and a leader among universities in hypersonics research.

Tim Cahill, senior vice president of Lockheed Martin International, and Theresa Mayer, executive vice president for research and partnerships at Purdue, signed the agreement in a virtual ceremony. The MRA will help advance important research and development collaborations on key technologies while allowing for expanded research partnerships and opportunities for Purdue’s undergraduate and graduate talent.

“I am deeply appreciative and aware of the immense value of collaboration with the talent we find at programs like the ones at Purdue,” Cahill said. “Purdue has a rich tradition of working with Lockheed Martin. In fact, the F-35 lift fan was designed by a Purdue grad. Likewise, the resources and research that Purdue has invested across many disciplines, including in hypersonics, is world-class.”

Cahill, an active Purdue College of Engineering alumnus, has remained appreciative of his engineering education at Purdue University.

“Purdue opened my eyes to the expansive and complex nature of aeronautical engineering and sent me on a course to design and manage a range of defense systems,” said Cahill, who received both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in aeronautical and astronautical engineering from Purdue. “My education positioned me well for my work as a U.S. Air Force officer and a 25-year career at Lockheed Martin.”

The MRA builds upon already existing connections between both sides. More than 650 Purdue alumni currently work with Lockheed Martin.

“We are grateful for this expanded chance to contribute to our national defense at a moment when, for the first time, America’s technological leadership is being seriously challenged, and for the opportunities Lockheed Martin will provide for our faculty and our students during and after their days at Purdue,” Purdue President Mitch Daniels said.

The master research agreement was fully executed in November and new collaborations have already begun in hypersonics, including more than $600,000 in research funding. Hypersonics are an ongoing focus of Purdue research, advancing aircraft and missile technology that enable speeds faster than five times the speed of sound. The speed creates significant thermal and aerodynamic loads.

Mayer said the agreement covers research in many areas including hypersonics, systems engineering, high temperature materials, optics, cybersecurity and others.

“Purdue’s research infrastructure is world-class and is being strategically expanded in partnership with the defense sector,” Mayer said. “The faculty, students, and staff at Purdue are delighted to move forward in this most important partnership with Lockheed Martin.”

Cahill already has been instrumental in work to advance a systems engineering research effort at Purdue. Lockheed Martin has provided important input in the design of Purdue’s Mach 8 quiet wind tunnel facility.

Thursday’s signing ceremony included Daniels, Mayer and David McKinnis of Purdue’s Office of Industry Partnerships. They were joined virtually from the Lockheed Martin corporate headquarters by Cahill; Steve Walker, vice president and chief technology officer; and Larry Schuette, director of global research and innovation, among others.

Purdue continues to establish itself as a hub of hypersonic capabilities research, most recently with announcements that the university had received funding to develop a Mach 8 quiet flow wind tunnel and has obtained a Hypersonic Pulse (HYPULSE) shock tunnel donated by Northrop Grumman.

Purdue has one of the most comprehensive hypersonics research capabilities in the country with nearly 40 world-renowned researchers in hypersonics, with expertise in navigation, aerodynamics, aerothermal effects, propulsion, autonomy, system engineering, high-temperature materials, and manufacturing.

About Purdue University

Purdue University is a top public research institution developing practical solutions to today’s toughest challenges. Ranked the No. 5 Most Innovative University in the United States by U.S. News & World Report, Purdue delivers world-changing research and out-of-this-world discovery. Committed to hands-on and online, real-world learning, Purdue offers a transformative education to all. Committed to affordability and accessibility, Purdue has frozen tuition and most fees at 2012-13 levels, enabling more students than ever to graduate debt-free. See how Purdue never stops in the persistent pursuit of the next giant leap at https://purdue.edu/.

About Lockheed Martin

Headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that employs approximately 110,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. For additional information, visit www.lockheedmartin.com.

Writer, Media contact: Brian Huchel, 765-494-2084, bhuchel@purdue.edu

Sources: Mitch Daniels, president@purdue.edu

Theresa Mayer, tsmayer@purdue.edu

April LaFever, april.lafever@lmco.com, 301-219-1041 

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Note to journalists: A photo from the virtual signing is available on Google Drive. Journalists visiting campus should follow visitor health guidelines.

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