Lockheed Martin Adopts 3D Printing
Posted on June 02 2017
Lockheed Martin Joins the 3D Printing Bandwagon
Appears originally on 3dprintingindustry.com - written by Corey Clarke
American defense company, Lockheed Martin has revealed plans to use 3D printing to develop the U.S. Air Force’s next generation of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM). The company has also announced the development of a 3D printed part for the U.S. Air Force’s military satellite. Lockheed Martin is currently applying for the U.S. Air Force’s Ground Based Strategic Deterrent ICBM contract and intends to utilize advanced design technology at its Collaborative Human Immersive Lab (CHIL) in Colorado.
Image via Lockheed Martin
Northrop Grumman and Boeing are also in consideration for the development of the missile. According to Air Force Magazine, a part of the U.S. Air Force Association, two contracts will be offered by the end of fiscal 2017. If granted to Lockheed Martin, the company intends to make use of 3D printing and the CHIL which they opened in 2010. The CHIL’s immersive environment contains virtual reality (VR) technology and would help the design process for the GBSD. John Karas, vice president and GBSD program manager, explained that the CHIL could be used map the inside of existing missile silos to see how the new ICBM would work in the existing space. Such VR-based design is seeing increased use across several design processes for manufacturing. One example is France’s Dassault Systèmes, who released a Virtual Reality compatible version of their 3DEXPERIENCE product viewer.
A 3D printed missileMinuteman III missiles are the missiles in current use by the US Air Force, but these are intended to be replaced by the GBSD. Karas also explained that the company would like to make use of 3D printing technology in creating components for the missiles to save time and money.
One of the key benefits Lockheed Martin has cited for using 3D printing is the ability to adapt. The technology enables the company to respond quickly to changes and support the life-cycle of the products. Iris Bombelyn, vice president of Protected Communications at Lockheed Martin Space Systems, comments, 3-D printing provides the ability to rapidly implement innovation by controlling production from design through implementation with one digital model. By providing affordable, innovative solutions for our customers with a reduced timeline, we are able to adjust to the rapidly changing environment of military space.