There is little doubt that the US Military and our leaders view 3D printing as an incredibly important technology. We’ve seen virtually every branch of the US military look toward the technology in one form or another as the government is constantly seeking new ways to better protect our soldiers and our nation as a whole.
Last year the Air Force launched what they called the Additive Manufacturing Innovation Research Program, which was based at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio. The main goal of setting this program up was to equip the US Air Force with the necessary technology needed in order to better protect the American public, namely via more affordable and quickly produced replacement parts for weapons systems, using additive manufacturing and other possible emerging technologies.
This last week, the new program got a major boost, as Ohio Congressmen Tim Ryan and Michael Turner announced $10 million in funding for these initiatives.
“Additive manufacturing is transforming every sector of our national economy and it is clear that Ohio is leading the way,” said Congressman Ryan, who is a member of the House Defense Subcommittee on Appropriations, and was able to obtain the funding in the Fiscal Year 2016 Defense Appropriations Bill, which was passed on Thursday. “I’m proud to assist in the funding of this program that will ultimately help grow manufacturing jobs in our State and across the nation, while at the same time reduce costs for the Defense Department.”
Ohio is already a hotbed for additive manufacturing when it come to both military as well as more general manufacturing applications. America Makes, an organization which is focused on ‘helping the United States grow capabilities and strength in 3D printing’, is located in the northeastern section of the state, while both the University of Dayton and Youngstown State University are working in conjunction with one another, as well as the Military, on various additive manufacturing applications.
“I am proud to be a leader on this program that continues to support Ohio manufacturing capabilities and taps into the talent at Wright Patterson Air Force Base. This is just one example of how bipartisan initiatives can expand opportunities and continue to bring jobs to Ohio and assist the Defense Department,” said Congressman Mike Turner.
The Defense Appropriations Bill, which authorizes the $10 million in funding, still needs to pass the Senate before being handed over to President Obama for signing. Speaking to those who are a bit more politically savvy than myself, it seems very likely that the bill will be passed.
The funding will allow the program to continue carrying out their current initiatives, while being able to dig a bit deeper into their coffers in order to explore additional applications involving additive manufacturing.
Let’s hear your thoughts on this proposed funding and what it could mean for the future of the US Military. Discuss in the Additive Manufacturing Innovation Research Program forum thread on 3DPB.com.