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Marine Corps Set to Use 3D Printing For Mission Prep

Posted by Ernie Adams on

Earlier this week we brought you news that the US Army has developed a capability to create mission specific drones within 24 hours for its soldiers.

“We’ve created a process for converting Soldier mission needs into a 3-D printed On-Demand Small Unmanned Aircraft System, or ODSUAS, as we’ve been calling it,” said Eric Spero from U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command. “We thought they’re not going to think that’s fast enough, but, actually it was the opposite. The timeline of 24 hours to receive a mission-custom UAS fits right in line with the way they plan and execute their missions.”

Well, it turns out there’s more from the US military with regard to its additive manufacturing (aka 3d printing) capabilities.

This time the news comes from the Marine Corps, where additive manufacturing is helping Marines better prepare for upcoming missions by allowing them to understand their surroundings more effectively.

“I’m fascinated by the developments and changes that 3D printing is bringing about,” said Lt. Gen. Ronald L. Bailey, left, Deputy Commandant of Plans, Policies and Operations. “Yes there are things we’ll have to work through in terms of certification or verification of parts, but just that thinking — I’ll give you an example, years ago (when briefing plans ahead of an operation) you would build little squares of dirt, and you would have a map, and you would build your [terrain map] using dirt and strings. Now … you and I are getting ready to go out on an operation, I’m not going to brief you from a map, I’m going to brief you from a replica of the ground, the buildings and everything that’s on there, to include the windows, due to 3D printing. So that’s just a small example.”

There are a myriad of ways that US Armed Forces are leveraging additive manufacturing, including soldier specific meals based on nutritional needs, spare parts for aircraft and humvees, drone production and now planning maps.

Looking forward into 2017, Lt. Gen Bailey says, “The only thing we’re not going to do is stay the same.”


Marine Corps Set to Use 3D Printing For Mission Prep was originally published in 3dprintingtech on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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