I am not a huge fan of the use of 3D printing technology for the military; it’s the open source nature of this technology that gives me a scare. If this technology is used by rogue nations to wage a war against civilians it could cause devastation unlike we have ever seen. But on the brighter side we can look up to the advancement as it could have possible use for the welfare of mankind. You would be amazed to know that many gadgets which were seemingly military technology are now something that we cannot live without these days. GPS, Penicillin, Microwave, Air travel, Nylon, Canned Food, Jeep, and the Wrist watch are technologies that were all created by the military however they now seem to be a part of our daily lives.
Drones because of their multipurpose use can be the worthy entry to the elite list we mentioned above. However there is still some time before the drones become easily acceptable by the public for commercial and private use. Governments across the continents are trying to pioneer the drone technology for defense as the use of it would mean the unmanned planes can save lives of pilots. The latest development to the Drone technology is the 3D-printed aircraft that were launched from a Royal Navy ship and landed safely on a Dorset beach.
The test flight was done from the HMS Mersey, with this test the British navy was trying to find the potential use of small, unmanned aircraft at sea. The 3d printed Aircraft was made by the Southampton University using the advanced Laser Sintering method. The Aircraft has a wingspan of 4ft and was the first fully 3d printed plane when it first flew in 2011.
The whole plane is made up of 4 major parts and does not require any tools to be assembled; during this test flight the aircraft flew 1,600ft (500m) from Wyke Regis Training Facility in Weymouth and landing on Chesil Beach. The 3d printed plane was able to cover this distance in less than 5 minutes during which it flew almost silently.
Talking to the media about this successful test flight of the 3d Printed plane. Prof Andy Keane, who leads the project along with Prof Jim Scanlan, said: "The key to increased use of unmanned aerial vehicles is the simple production of low-cost and rugged airframes."
First Sea Lord Adm Sir George Zambellas said: "Radical advances in capability often start with small steps. "The launch of a 3D-printed aircraft from HMS Mersey is a small glimpse into the innovation and forward thinking that is now embedded in our navy's approach. We are after more and greater capability in this field, which delivers huge value for money. And, because it's new technology, with young people behind it, we're having fun doing it."
The Royal Navy is completing options to build a 3D printing factory over its ships and aircraft carries, this will give them the freedom to build the Drones onboard. If a Drone is shot down during war they would build one immediately, this would reduce their dependency on a factory back home, or on fragile supply chains to ship spare parts or replacements out. What do you guys think of this latest development of using 3d Printed UN manned Airplanes? Do share your thoughts and opinions with us.