DST and UQ partner for high-speed flight research

A rendering of Lockheed Martin's SR-72 hypersonic plane

The Defence Science and Technology (DST) Group is collaborating with the University of Queensland (UQ) to undertake advanced research in flight science and enabling technologies.

The $10 million agreement will see the two parties will combine their testing facilities to leverage the expertise of academic and industry researchers and international partners.

Under the new agreement, Professor Richard Morgan, UQ’s director of the Centre for Hypersonics, has been appointed to provide expertise in the development and operation of advanced large-scale test facilities and facilitate close collaboration with DST. 

Professor Morgan is the only non-US scientist to have received a hypersonic systems and technologies award from the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

Hypersonic aerodynamics has been a major research activity at The University of Queensland for over 20 years. The researchers in the centre have been involved in collaborative research programs with about 20 universities and research organisations around the world. Areas of expertise within the centre are:

  • Development of test facilities based on shock wave generation (shock tunnels, expansion tunnels, light-gas guns, blast generators);
  • Scramjet propulsion (experiment, analysis and design);
  • Rocket-launched flight testing;
  • Aerothermodynamic experimentation and analysis;
  • Advanced instrumentation for aerodynamic measurements;
  • Computational fluid dynamic analysis of high-speed transient and steady flows; and
  • Optical diagnostics for hypervelocity superorbital flow.

High-speed flight science is one of the priority areas to be developed under the Next Generation Technologies Fund, a DST program focussing on research and development in emerging and future technologies.

Introduced along with the Defence Industry Policy Statement in 2016, the program intends to invest up to $730 million over the decade to June 2026 on research and development in emerging and future technologies for the “future Defence force after next”.

The nine priority areas for the program, as determined by the Defence White Paper 2016, include: 

  • Integrated intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance
  • Space capabilities
  • Enhanced human performance
  • Medical countermeasure products
  • Multi-disciplinary material sciences
  • Quantum technologies
  • Trusted autonomous systems
  • Cyber
  • Advanced sensors, hypersonics and directed energy capabilities