Army could soon 'print' 3D parts to repair guns on battlefield

Army could soon ‘print’ 3D parts to repair guns and tanks on the battlefield with technology that could revolutionise global warfare

  • Chief executive of 3D printing company says it could fix supply-chain issues
  • Read more: Scientists are making 3D-printed human HEARTS

Soldiers could soon be able to make parts for guns and tanks on the battlefield using 3D printers.

The technology, which was used last month for the first time to make metal parts for the Army’s armoured vehicles, could revolutionise global warfare.

The Mail on Sunday can reveal that Babcock, the defence firm behind the breakthrough, aims to build portable frontline units.

Its 3D printing uses ‘additive layer manufacturing’, which builds small amounts of steel in layers.

A 3D printed fictional shotgun by the UK based 3D printing company Tri-Tec

Tom Newman, chief executive of the firm’s land division, said it could fix supply-chain issues on the ground, adding: ‘For almost anything you can hold in your hand or pick up, you would be able to print with a really fine level of detail.

‘We’ve already produced parts that weigh up to 20kg and parts that are really complex shapes.

‘There’s no reason you couldn’t use this technology to support many different kinds of armoured vehicles. 

‘We are working with our customers to find ways to use the technology in the field, so they wouldn’t need to take as many parts with them when deployed. It could make armies more self-sufficient.’

Newman said Babcock’s technology could also further assist Ukrainian soldiers in their war against Russia. 

The company has been assisting Government-led efforts to help Ukraine since the invasion last year, providing both training and equipment.

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