3-D Parts Integrated in a US F-35 and an Unmanned Ground Vehicle

WASHINGTON (the USA), April 26, 2018, Text: Bm News Team, Photo: Cpl. Stormy Mendez/U.S. Marine Corps

3-D print parts have been recently integrated in an US F-35 and an unmanned ground vehicle and the repaired F-35B Lightning II has already been successfully operated by a U.S. Marine Corps pilot. A worn bumper on the landing gear of the jet was replaced through 3-D printing by the Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 121, reported Defense News.

On the base of the experience with the F-35 3-D print part, the explosive ordnance disposal team of MEU requested a 3-D print part for an iRobot 310 small unmanned ground vehicle intended to function as a lens cap for a particular camera and it is already integrated and protects the lens of the robot. It was produced by the same team.

The innovation was introduced by Marine Corps Sgt Adrian Willis, deployed with Combat Logistic Battalion 31, 31st Marine Expedition Unit. He used the 3-D printer as part of a process known as additive manufacturing. His inventive decision saved time and money, because, otherwise, the repair of the F-35 would have taken weeks for replacement of the entire door assembly instead of just printing, approving and installing of the bumper in just a few days.

Willis said, “I think 3-D printing is definitely the future ― it’s absolutely the direction the Marine Corps needs to be going.”

And the squadron’s commanding officer, Marine Corps Lt. Col. Richard Rusnok, explained, “As a commander, my most important commodity is time. Although our supply personnel and logisticians do an outstanding job getting us parts, being able to rapidly make our own parts is a huge advantage.”