Army awards Wichita State $100 million contract for ground system digital transformation


The U.S. Army has awarded Wichita State University’s National Institute for Aviation Research (NIAR) a $100 million contract to advance and modernize the Army’s ground transportation fleet.

The five-year Modernization of Integrated Technology for Ground Systems (MINT-GS) award comes from the Materials Division, Advanced Manufacturing of the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Ground Vehicle Systems Center (GVSC) at Detroit Arsenal, Michigan.

The mission of the MINT-GS program is to develop innovative tools, methodologies and qualification framework for advanced manufacturing processes and materials, allowing for the modernization and sustainment of ground vehicle and ground vehicle components. It supports GVSC’s mission to provide the warfighter with enhanced capabilities and to ensure readiness.

In support of a path to delivery of advanced manufacturing parts, the MINT-GS program converges basic and applied research in four primary areas:

  • Development of ground vehicle parts for advanced manufacturing processes and material
  • Material development and process control for advanced manufacturing processes
  • Rapid qualification of materials and parts for advanced manufacturing processes
  • Implementation of an integrated digital environment for digital twin development and sustainment

The cooperative agreement includes nine potential sub-recipient universities, including Auburn University, which is focusing on materials, parts and process qualification. Rachael Andrulonis, NIAR director of advanced materials research, serves as principal investigator and director; and John Tomblin, WSU senior vice president for Industry and Defense Programs and NIAR executive director, serves as alternative director.

“Through this program, the U.S. Army GVSC will capitalize on multiple areas of expertise at Wichita State, including advanced materials development and qualification expertise,” said Tomblin. “It is a unique opportunity for the Wichita manufacturing industry and WSU students to connect with a new division of the U.S. Army.”

The program will leverage NIAR’s expertise, capabilities and experience in advanced manufacturing, material and part development and qualification, and digital twin. NIAR’s initial projects are focused on rapid qualification of metallic additive manufacturing through laser powder bed fusion and directed energy deposition processes.

This is the largest single award for Wichita State in the 2023 fiscal year and is equal to 2022’s largest award of $100 million from the U.S. Air Force for the B-1’s digital engineering transformation.

“Wichita State and NIAR continue to support critical missions for our U.S military, and this contract with the Army is a testament to the great work being done at WSU,” said U.S. Senator Jerry Moran. “This new contract will help make certain our service members have the resources necessary to fight and win our nation’s wars and protect our national security. I look forward to supporting future opportunities between WSU and the Army.”

Moran has been instrumental in introducing Department of Defense leaders to the capabilities and expertise at Wichita State and throughout the state of Kansas.

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This work was supported by Wichita State University Modernization of Integrated Technology for Ground Systems (MINT-GS), Supported by the Materials Division, Advanced Manufacturing, under Cooperative Agreement W56HZV-22-2-0001 with the US Army DEVCOM Ground Vehicle Systems Center (GVSC).

About Wichita State University

Wichita State University is Kansas' only urban public research university, enrolling almost 22,000 students between its main campus and WSU Tech, including students from every state in the U.S. and more than 100 countries. Wichita State and WSU Tech are recognized for being student centered and innovation driven.

Located in the largest city in the state with one of the highest concentrations in the United States of jobs involving science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), Wichita State University provides uniquely distinctive and innovative pathways of applied learning, applied research and career opportunities for all of our students.

The Innovation Campus, which is a physical extension of the Wichita State University main campus, is one of the nation’s largest and fastest-growing research/innovation parks, encompassing over 120 acres and is home to a number of global companies and organizations.

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