3D Printing technology has the advantages of speed, accuracy, customization, and less waste. Although the development time is relatively short, it has played an important role in many industries such as military and medical services. From the perspective of the military field, 3D printing technology is favored by all countries and is considered to be one of the subversive military technologies in the 21st century, which will have an important impact on future wars. The application of 3D printing technology can not only change the way weapons and equipment are produced, but will also affect the way the military provides support. Relevant experts pointed out that 3D printing technology is triggering a revolution in military manufacturing.
Most of the parts and components required by military weapons and equipment are high-strength parts with sophisticated designs and complex shapes. Traditional technical means are nothing more than grinding, cutting and casting materials. This method is not only time-consuming and labor-intensive, but also often fails to meet the requirements. . Using 3D printing technology, parts can be printed directly, saving time and cost. Due to the simple operation of 3D printing, it brings great convenience to the military industry. When manufacturing key parts and using key technologies, outsourcing processing can be avoided, which not only prevents data leakage during processing, but also saves a lot of time. In the improvement of some core key equipment, it is inevitable to carry out a large number of single-piece trial production of some parts. The use of 3D printing technology greatly reduces the time required for the conversion between part data and physical production, and the development time and production cycle are also Significant reduction can save scientific research costs and speed up equipment production.
In recent years, the United States has actively carried out 3D printing technology to produce large-scale titanium alloy parts. The US military and military industry companies are cooperating with 3D printing technology companies to promote the application of large-size titanium alloy 3D printing technology in fighter jet manufacturing. RLM Industries of the United States uses 3D printing technology to manufacture the “Patriot” air defense system gear components, and its manufacturing cost has been reduced from US$20,000 to US$40,000 using traditional manufacturing processes to US$1,250. Lockheed Martin used Sciaky’s 3D printed titanium alloy parts on the F-35 fighter aileron spar, and conducted flight test verification. The two companies also jointly developed the F-22 fighter titanium alloy bearing and passed the full-life spectrum fatigue test and load test. The British Royal Air Force successfully tested a Tornado fighter jet equipped with 3D printed metal parts.
The 3D printed parts included the radio shield of the cockpit, the landing gear guard and the air inlet bracket. As we all know, the grenade launcher is one of the most important fire support weapons for infantry in modern warfare. The US “Lambo” brand grenade gun can be manufactured using 3D printing technology. The US military’s R&D team stated that, except for springs and fasteners, every component of this M203A1 grenade launcher uses laser 3D printing technology. Printed. The US military has tested this weapon in indoor shooting ranges and outdoor test bases, and successfully launched 15 grenades. In addition to the grenade launcher, Solid Concepts of the United States used 3D printing technology to manufacture the world’s first metal gun and successfully tested it. The 3D printed metal gun is composed of more than 30 parts. After testing, the 3D printed gun has a lower range than conventional guns but has the same accuracy. The magazine and other parts of the AR-15 semi-automatic rifle have also been manufactured by 3D printing technology. The gun can shoot more than 600 times and has good overall performance. At present, the problem that restricts 3D printing technology is materials. If the metal powder material problem can be solved, 3D printing technology will be more widely used in the field of weapon design, manufacture and maintenance.
At present, all countries in the world are using all available methods to reduce the loss of personnel on the battlefield, and strive to achieve zero casualties, and timely and effective battlefield first aid is an effective method. However, the battlefield situation is changing rapidly, especially in some cases because of the lack of necessary medical materials, which greatly affects the battlefield medical treatment. If 3D printing technology is applied to the battlefield, the necessary and timely rescue of soldiers can be carried out to the maximum extent. On the battlefield or in battlefield hospitals, 3D printing technology is used to make corresponding medical appliances and even organs according to the specific conditions of the wounded soldiers. For example, splints and brackets can be made for soldiers with fractures, joints can be printed for soldiers with joint injuries, goggles or special glasses can be made for soldiers with eye injuries, prostheses for soldiers with amputations, and special shoes for soldiers with injured feet. As an emerging technology, 3D printing technology has unique technical advantages and can produce customized objects of any shape. 3D printing technology has been widely used in the fields of weapon equipment design, manufacturing, and use support. (Author: Ma Jianguang, professor of the College of Arts and Sciences, National University of Defense Technology; Shen Qiyou and Qin Xujie, students of the Military Basic Education Institute)
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