Mercury Systems joins consortium at Purdues Discovery Park

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Mike Dodd (Purdue University image)

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – An innovative defense contractor has joined a Purdue University consortium of government, industry and the U.S. defense community working to develop advanced technologies in areas ranging from advanced flight vehicles to microelectronics.

Mercury Systems Inc. has become a member of the Institute for Global Security and Defense Innovation consortium at Purdue’s Discovery Park. The company, headquartered in Andover, Mass., has facilities across the nation, including its Secure Processing Solutions group at the Purdue Research Park.

 “This new partnership between Mercury and the consortium allows us to pursue joint research goals and provides new growth opportunities for both entities,” said Michael Dodd, managing director of the consortium.

Mercury Systems is pioneering a next-generation defense electronics business model designed to meet the defense industry’s current and emerging technology and business needs. The company has been involved in more than 300 defense programs, including the Aegis and Patriot missile defense systems, the Surface Electronic Warfare Improvement Program, the Gorgon Stare surveillance system and the F-35 fighter jet.

“We are excited to work with Purdue and the IGSDI consortium members to help bridge the gap between research and prototyping by integrating these with Mercury’s mid to high Technology Readiness Level (TRL) products.  These solutions can then be provided to our defense prime customers for further system integration and fielding,” said Gregory R. Ellis, senior director of Business Operations for Mercury’s Secure Processing Solutions.

Daniel DeLaurentis (Purdue University image)
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Mercury Systems is a leading commercial provider of “secure sensor and safety-critical processing subsystems,” which can be found, for example, in radar, electronic warfare and signals intelligence systems on a variety of military platforms such as fighter jets, surface ships and ground stations. The systems are said to be “secure,” meaning they can’t be compromised or reverse-engineered in the event of enemy capture. The company has a network of advanced microelectronics centers for aerospace and defense technologies and has recently invested nearly $1 billion in research and development, advanced manufacturing and acquisition of new capabilities and facilities.

The consortium is supported jointly by industrial firms, and integrates Discovery Park, select academic colleges and departments at Purdue, government R&D organizations, and potentially other organizations, agencies and educational institutions.

 “We sit at a crossroads where threats to global security and the instability they create may pervade and potentially transform society in ways we have not contemplated in the past,” said Daniel DeLaurentis, director of the Institute for Global Security and Defense Innovation and a professor in Purdue’s School of Aeronautics and Astronautics. “The institute brings together Purdue’s interdisciplinary resources for timely, responsive and transformative solutions to the most pressing security and defense challenges facing the nation and the world.”

Consortium focus areas include nanotechnology; social and behavioral sciences; artificial intelligence; big data, simulation for security applications; autonomous and cognitive systems; new concepts in propulsion, energetics and thermal management; and new approaches in cyber defense, advanced electronics, photonics and system-of-systems design and architecture.

The institute was established in December 2016 to help solve the complex defense problems of the 21st Century, with the primary goal of forming the consortium.

 “Any private or publicly-traded company, any federal research and development organization, or any government-owned contractor-operated laboratory may join the consortium,” Dodd said. “Sometimes we bring opportunity from government to faculty and sometimes it’s the other way around. So, any faculty member can come to the institute and say, I want to work with a particular U.S. military branch or program to further their research. At the same time, the institute may actively seek out specific researchers because their work is relevant to certain military efforts.”

Though the consortium is just underway, membership is growing and currently includes Indiana Applied Research Institute, Naval Air Systems Command, Naval Surface Warfare Center (Crane Division), Crane Army Ammunition Activity, Purdue Research Foundation, Sandia National Labs Strategic Alliance, and the U.S. Army Research Laboratory.

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