The Department of Defense (DoD) has awarded $11.3 million dollars to Universal Achemetal Titanium, LLC (UAT) to conduct titanium metal research and development in Montana for the United States Navy, Office of Naval Research. The program is being contracted through LIFT, the Detroit-based and Department of Defense-partnered national advanced materials manufacturing innovation institute, and includes a partnership with Montana Tech, also located in Butte, which will assist with analysis and experimentation.
Titanium is half the weight of steel yet has the same strength and does not easily corrode. Titanium is of strategic importance to the United States defense industrial base, but the US does not currently produce any titanium materials domestically. UAT has developed a novel process for extracting and refining titanium from various raw ores using less energy, while no harmful chemicals are used or generated, and in an environmentally friendly manner.
U.S. Sen. Jon Tester (D-Montana), was instrumental in securing the award, targeting a critical research project as part of the FY23 Defense appropriations bill, that will bring investment to Montana. This initiative also meets the governmental goal of securing domestic supplies of critical metals for national security. The contract equates to an increase in jobs in Butte and brings awareness of Montana as a location that provides expertise in STEM educational and professional disciplines with growth potential.