DARPA, the government agency known for its robots and other crazy futuristic inventions, just announced a new project that could lead to the quicker development of advanced military vehicles. This new project is called Materials Development for Platforms, and it aims to shorten the timespan between designing tough materials that can withstand harsh environments and having them used on actual military equipment. Apparently, such a process typically takes more than a decade (that's why the Luke arm's relatively fast FDA approval was darn impressive). But MDP seeks to come up with the methodology and tools to cut that down to two-and-a-half years.
The folks behind the program believe that it's possible to achieve that if researchers start developing materials with a specific purpose in mind. As it is, many of them attempt to design holy grail materials before determining their actual applications, and assessing those creations to find out what they can be used for takes a lot of time. In order to prove that the MDP metholody works, the team agreed to develop materials that can withstand extreme heat for the outer shell of a hypersonic aircraft, as it can travel more than five times the speed of sound. The group needs to be done within the next two-and-a-half years for the program's method to be deemed successful, so watch out for any hypersonic plane news from DARPA in 2016 or 2017