Taylor Lawrence, president of Raytheon Missile Systems, says the 3d printers his team owns at their facility in Arizona are "oversubscribed."
His engineers are so enamored by the speed in which they can test new designs for missiles and missile parts, that the machines "are fully occupied on weekends and Friday nights."
As militaries experiment with different ways to implement 3d printing tech into their supply chains, Raytheon - the largest missile maker in the world - believes missile components will be made on-site, close to launch, decreasing maintenance and supply issues.
“We can produce fundamentally new capability more quickly, which ultimately means lower cost," Lawrence told FT this week.
An area of interest to Raytheon's team are the new designs and materials made available with 3d printing capabilities, including metal and alloy availability.
“Engineers can come up with brilliant ideas,” but “the production guys say there’s no way," he said. "The introduction of 3D printing is allowing us to do that.”
Lawrence says the production of entires missiles using 3d printers won't happen within the next few years, but it is coming.
“It will be a while before we print a whole missile, but we definitely see that on the horizon,” he says.