Soldier nanotechnology set for study

Association of the U.S. Army

The Army is in the final stages of selecting a university for a five-year, $50 million program that will establish the Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies, according to the service's deputy assistant secretary for research and technology.

A. Michael Andrews, also the Army's chief scientist, said the new university-affiliated research center would have "an Army flag out front" and would focus on "soldier survivability using nanotechnology."

Nanotechnology is a science that works at the atomic and molecular level to create any type of structure or device with improved molecular organization. It can be used to build anything -- not just computers.

Andrews, speaking in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., at the Association of the U.S. Army's 2002 Winter Symposium, said the institute would also rely on industry partners, and would house about 100 graduate students and 40 to 50 professors.

More details, including which university has been selected, will be announced "by the end of March, early April," Andrews said.

In other technology research news, Andrews and Allen Adler, acting director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's Tactical Technology Office, announced a significant funding bump for an unmanned combat vehicle.

DARPA and Army officials recently signed a memorandum authorizing $500 million for further development of the Unmanned Combat Armed Rotorcraft, according to Andrews and Adler.

Unmanned vehicles received about $1 billion in funding in the recently released fiscal 2003 Defense Department budget proposal.

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