Jan 7, 2014
3DPrintingNews
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Tornado fighter jets fly with 3D printed parts.

Earlier this week defence company, BAE Systems announced the successful test flight of a RAF Tornado fighter jet, which featured 3D Printed components.

The metal components which included protective covers for cockpit radios and guards for power take-off shafts are to form production components for four squadrons of Tornado GR4 Aircraft at the RAF Marham base in Norfolk. With some components costing less than £100 it is hoped that 3D Printing technology could cut the RAF maintenance and service bill by over £1.2 million in the next four years.

Speaking on the implications of 3D Printing technology on manufacturing, head of airframe integration at BAE Systems, Mike Murray stated;

“You are suddenly not fixed in terms of where you have to manufacture these things. You can manufacture the products at whatever base you want, providing you can get a machine there, which means you can also start to support other platforms such as ships and aircraft carriers. And if it’s feasible to get machines out on the front line, it also gives improved capability where we wouldn’t traditionally have any manufacturing support”

With both US space agency NASA and the defence sector looking at the long term manufacturing capabilities of 3D Printing technology we can expect to see significant developments in 3D Printing as a tool for manufacturing in the coming years.

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