In the News

Wichita Business Journal

The National Institute for Aviation Research at Wichita State University has reeled in another big defense contract, this time a $33-million deal with the U.S. Army. 

The new award comes from the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Aviation and Missile Center and will have NIAR working on advanced materials for high-speed missile applications. 

John Tomblin, the university’s vice president for research and technology transfer, says it will be rewarding work because it can help immediately bring new technology, capability and sustainability to the military. 

“It’s applied research and it benefits our warfighter tomorrow,” he says. 

The new contract comes a month after it was announced NIAR had secured a $23.5-million contract for sustainment work with the Air Force. 

Tomblin tells the WBJ that the growing amount of defense work for NIAR will put it in good running for future military contracts, and he credits Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) for helping the institute expand that side of its portfolio. 

Moran, a member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, has brought leaders from all branches of the military to Wichita in recent years to show what the city, university and NIAR has to offer in terms of research and advanced manufacturing. 

“I really have to thank Sen. Moran,” Tomblin says. “(We’re getting work) I don’t think we would have ever gotten before. It’s allowed us to show them what Wichita does and what NIAR does.” 

“Wichita State University is an important and reliable partner to the Department of Defense,” Moran says in a press release provided to the WBJ. “The engineering expertise and talent under Dr. John Tomblin’s leadership will advance the Army Combat Capabilities Development Command’s missile development efforts — especially given the value that hypersonics will play in the future of our military. I will continue to support partnerships between WSU and the Army and look forward to future initiatives that emerge from the partnership.”

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