Drones, like tanks, fighter jets, and other military vehicles and machinery are finite, meaning that if you destroy enough there will be none left. So imagine a situation where an enemy has shot down the military’s remaining drone, what then? Or better yet, imagine if the situation were such that the military could simply 3D print a new drone and have it operational in a short amount of time.

That’s what the US Army and the Marines are working on, according to an announcement on the Army’s website (via Engadget) in which they are working on a system that would allow on-demand 3D printed drones. This means that via a catalog that is accessible from a tablet, troops could 3D print drones while out in the field, which like we said would make it easier for them to replace damaged drones, or to 3D print drones that are customized for specific missions, since sometimes it isn’t a one-size-fits-all situation.

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This will help shave off a lot of time because the Army Research Laboratory is envisioning a system that could 3D print drones within minutes or hours, versus spending days or weeks to get a drone up a running the more traditional way. This isn’t the first time we’re seeing how 3D printing has been used in the military.

Last year the Marine Corps held a competition in which the winner designed a fixed-wing drone called the Scout that only costs $600 and could fit inside a standard Marine backpack.

Filed in Military >Robots. Read more about 3D Printing and Drones.

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