03.21.19

SCHUMER CALLS ON DOD TO MAKE WNY & CUBRC THE NATIONAL EPICENTER OF HYPERSONIC SYSTEMS DEVELOPMENT – A NEW FRONTIER IN MILITARY EXCELLENCE & SUPERIORITY THAT COULD BOOST HUNDREDS OF JOBS & THE REGIONAL ECONOMY IN WNY; SENATOR BRINGS KEY DOD RESEARCH & ENGINEERING BOSS TO CUBRC – THE ONLY FACILITY OF ITS KIND IN THE US – TO PUSH FOR INCREASED INVESTMENT IN DEVELOPMENT OF CRITICAL HYPERSONIC TECHNOLOGY IN BUFFALO

CUBRC, A Buffalo-Based, Independent Not-For-Profit Research Entity, Is Home To Groundbreaking Scientists And Facilities Focused On US Defense Needs In 21st Century And Beyond

Continued Development Of Large Energy National Shock Tunnel Complex Is Critical To National Security & Keeping The US Ahead In The Hypersonic Race

Schumer Has Previously Secured $32M To Fund Programs At CUBRC; Today, Senator Doubles Down, Launches Push For Additional Investment

Schumer: World-Class CUBRC Facility Keeps The US At The Forefront Of Hypersonic Missile Technology To Compete With China And Russia

Standing at CUBRC in Buffalo, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today launched a major push to establish CUBRC as the national epicenter of hypersonic weapons development – something that will boost both national security and the regional economy. CUBRC continues to expand a new frontier in military excellence and superiority by testing hypersonic vehicles traveling more than five times the speed of sound. 

Due to the critical nature of this research, Schumer invited Dr. Michael D. Griffin, the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering and former NASA administrator, to get a firsthand look at the critical work being done at CUBRC, and toured the facility with him today. Following his successful push to secure $16 million in each of the last two Defense Appropriations Bills, Schumer called for an increase in the Department of Defense’s investments into CUBRC’s research and testing of hypersonic weapons. Schumer explained that LENS, operated by CUBRC, is the only facility in the United States that has the capability to test weapons systems at high levels of complexity and velocity, and that this funding will allow the United States to keep pace with international competitors like Russia and China, which have performed successful tests of this technology in recent years and are investing heavily in this technology.

“CUBRC is the only facility in the nation with the ability to test hypersonic weapons systems at such high levels of complexity and velocity, and it is a critical part of both Western New York’s innovation economy and our national security. But with international competitors like China and Russia making significant strides in the field of hypersonic weapons development, we can’t afford to rest on our laurels and allow CUBRC to go under-funded, or face uncertainty year after year,” said Senator Schumer. “That’s why I’m doubling, tripling, and even quadrupling down on my push to boost funding to the Science and Technology program at the DoD – which funds CUBRC’s groundbreaking LENS facility – to secure world-class capability, win the global race on innovation in hypersonic technologies and weapons, support good-paying, high-tech jobs in Western New York and provide a critical shot in the arm to the regional economy.”

Schumer also explained that it is critical for the Department of Defense to build on the investment they have made in hypersonic testing at facilities like CUBRC so the United States can respond to and defend against national security threats from global adversaries. China, which conducted its first hypersonic weapons test last August, has already recognized the national security importance, and the massive strategic and economic value of winning the race to develop hypersonic materials and technology. To combat this threat, Schumer said that it is imperative to take further action and increase the Science & Technology program in Fiscal Year 2020, ensuring that CUBRC remains the most advanced hypervelocity ground testing facility in the world.

“Both China and Russia,” Schumer explained, “are investing much more aggressively in hypersonic facilities like CUBRC’s, which could threaten American military superiority in the coming decades.”

Schumer was joined by the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering, Dr. Michael D. Griffin. Griffin is charged with the development and oversight of all Department of Defense technology strategy. The overall role of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering is to enhance and expand the capabilities of present combat and national security systems and future requirements. Schumer invited Dr. Griffin to CUBRC in order to see the innovative and critical work being done at their Buffalo facility firsthand and to highlight the need for increased investment in their one-of-a-kind advanced technological capabilities.

CUBRC, in its current form, was established in 1983 to find technological advancements for its customers, particularly the U.S. military, through an array of research, development, testing and systems integration projects. As an organization, CUBRC dates back to the 1950’s and its facilities and staff have played a key role in the development of the Gemini and Apollo space capsules, as well as development and testing of the Space Shuttle and many other manned and unmanned space vehicles. Their scientists are national assets and are honing the cutting edge of high enthalpy hypersonic research, playing a crucial role in the nation’s defense strategy. The LENS facility consists of four shock tunnels that enable hypersonic aerodynamic flow tests, at fully-duplicated flight conditions, using full-scale vehicles, which has played a critical role in DOD’s study of hypersonic vehicles and interceptors.

“CUBRC truly is a world-class facility and we’re thrilled that Senator Schumer understands that and has always been willing to help us. Dr. Griffin’s visit gives us an opportunity to showcase the vital hypersonic work that is being done here and to advocate for this project about which we all feel so passionately,” said Tom McMahon, CEO of CUBRC.  

Senator Schumer has long fought for funding the Buffalo-based CUBRC. In 2015, Schumer announced that the Omnibus spending bill included $91 million in funding for the Department of Defense’s Test and Evaluation/Science and Technology (T&E/S&T) program, an increase of roughly $9 million over 2015’s levels. Senator Schumer also secured $16M for CUBRC’s LENS in the same T&E/S&T program last year in the FY18 and FY19 Defense budgets.

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