SwRI breaks ground on new facility for research, development of high-speed aerospace engines

SAN ANTONIO – Southwest Research Institute on Monday celebrated the groundbreaking of a new facility that will support research and development for tomorrow’s high-speed aerospace engines.

“This project will help ensure the U.S. is a leader in high-speed propulsion research and development,” said Dr. Barron Bichon, director of SwRI’s Materials Engineering Department. “SwRI is committed to advancing this vital technology on behalf of Texas and the nation.”

Initial projects in the new Center for Accelerating Materials and Processes facility will focus on demonstrating faster, more efficient techniques for manufacturing high-speed propulsion systems.

Once construction on the new two-story, 36,600-square-foot facility is complete, SwRI will begin evaluating new materials and processes designed to produce a high-speed engine in a considerably shorter amount of time than current production timelines.

“This new facility will see the development of innovative technology that reflects SwRI’s mission of serving humankind,” said Dr. Ben Thacker, vice president of SwRI’s Mechanical Engineering Division. “Advancing high-speed propulsion systems propels us toward a future with stronger defense capabilities and greater global connectivity.”

One of the CAMP facility’s initial projects will involve procuring and installing manufacturing process test equipment. Under a contract from the Office of the Secretary of Defense’s Manufacturing Science and Technology Program, SwRI engineers will demonstrate how the facility will reduce production times and costs.

Market forces, including growth in global defense, air travel, delivery and transportation needs are driving the demand for high-speed engines.

The CAMP facility will cost $34 million to build.

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