Navies could harness 3D-printing to build military vessels, report says

Published September 09, 2015

Navies around the world could harness 3D-printing to build high-tech military vessels over the next 15 years, according to a report released on Monday by defense contractor Qinetiq.

The Global Marine Technology Trends 2030 report, produced with Lloyd's Register and the University of Southampton in the U.K, highlights the potential military uses of advanced technologies and materials.

A spokesman for Qinetiq told that naval personnel on board ships, for example, could use 3D printing to create small vessels from layers of metal and plastic powder. "If you have a 3D printer that uses nano materials and your boats are modular, you could print out a vessel," he said.

The US Navy has already cited 3D printing as a key technology. Last year a compact 3D printer was installed on amphibious assault ship USS Essex for testing. Sample parts were successfully printed on the device, which was also used to train sailors on computer-aided design software. The US has also tested3D printers to build drones on board ships.

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