Although most of their innovative creations and plans are usually kept undisclosed, the military complex and defense industry have noticeably benefited from the rise of 3D printing technology. In the United States, the various branches of military have looked at additive manufacturing as a solution for a number of applications, from developing weaponry to customizing their meals. In fact, the military will likely be on the forefront of future innovations with 3D printing, helping the technology become more versatile and capable than ever before.
One prime example of this comes from the Pentagon, which has recently revealed that they’ve been testing out swarms of low-cost surveillance and attack mini-drones. According to the Department of Defense, they plan to deploy in the future to jam enemy defense systems, blanket areas with small sensors, or even function as attack weapons. These mini-drones, which have been dubbed as Perdix, have a 3D printed outer-mold, which enabled more rapid production at a lower cost.
These Perdix mini-drones have already been tested by the Pentagon’s elusive Strategic Capabilities Office (SCO), and were recently launched from F-16 and F-18 fighter jets. William Roper, the Director of the SCO, declined to openly discuss the particular sensor technologies used by the mini-drones, but he did confirm that they are capable of being launched from the flare dispensers of these military aircrafts. According to the SCO, these swarms have proven to be potentially advantageous for near-term combat purposes, and were designed to bode well with enemy weapons and extreme temperatures.
“They are expendable and fly low as a surveillance asset. You can have a lot of them for a saturation approach. Saturating has an advantage over the thing it has to defend against. Its defender has to take more time and money to defend against it,” said Roper.
To prevent these swarming mini-drones from crashing into one another, the military services that developed the technology utilized computer algorithms for autonomous flight. This also enables the Perdix to perform a wide-range of strategically relevant missions, particularly relating to surveillance. By having them attack in saturated swarms, the defender is forced to spend more time and resources trying to protect from the mini-drones.
This drone technology were developed with the assistance of the SCO, which itself was created to help the military circumvent the lengthy and bureaucratic formal acquisition process. Their ultimate goal, according to Roper, is to help solidify these types of technologies into a definite advantage for the military. Currently, test results and data for further development of the Perdix are being analyzed, which will lead to design modifications if necessary. All in all, the mini-drone swarms are yet another example of how 3D printing technology has become an integral part to military prototyping and manufacturing, offering a faster and more affordable technology in an industry where every second usually counts. Discuss in the Mini Drone Swarms forum at 3DPB.com.[Source: Scout]
You May Also Like
Roboze’s Exclusive Subscription Plan to Print Parts Near Point of Production
COVID-19 unveiled production gaps in the current global supply chain as parts are produced in central location and shipped all over the world: that’s why the Roboze vision is to...
3D Printing News Briefs: December 20, 2020: iFactory3D, Farsoon, DMC & Produmax, EOS
In 3D Printing News Briefs this weekend, we’re talking about a successful 3D printer Kickstarter campaign, a high-temperature material, a partnership, and a new podcast. The Factory One 3D printer...
GoEngineer Now Largest U.S. Distributor of VELO3D’s Metal 3D Printing Solutions
After a few years of working in secret, privately funded metal 3D printing startup VELO3D came on to the scene with a bang with the introduction of its innovative, patented...
Farsoon Launches Flame-Retardant Material and Post-Processing Solutions at Formnext
Farsoon Europe and Tiger Coatings have successfully developed a specialized thermoset material, with flame-retardant properties, for polymer laser sintering using Farsoon’s HT252P industrial 3D printing system. The material, TIGITAL 3D-Set...
View our broad assortment of in house and third party products.