ASTRO America to 3D Print Combat Vehicle Hull for U.S. Army
On Tuesday, the Applied Science & Technology Research Organization, also known as ASTRO America, announced that it had been chosen by the U.S. Army for the “Jointless Hull Project”. Contracted through LIFT, the Department of Defense supported manufacturing innovation institute, this program is part of an endeavor to develop and deliver a hull-scale tool for combat vehicles using its additive manufacturing technology. Together they hope to improve the speed and reduce the cost of production, while reducing the weight, and increasing the performance and survivability of the vehicle.
“As a national manufacturing innovation institute, we help advance technology from concept to use by the warfighter as quickly as possible,” said Nigel Francis, Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director, LIFT. “Developing the ‘jointless hull’ is also aligned with our mission of driving American manufacturing into the future by connecting materials to processes and to the systems involved.”
Printing the jointless hull as a single component offers several benefits. The first, an advantage frequently highlighted in discussions of additive manufacturing, is the added potential to more easily mass the part will considerably ameliorate supply chain efficiency as well as significantly decrease the production cost. “The mission is to develop a large-scale tool capable of producing single, jointless combat vehicle hulls at a near net size of 30ft x 20ft x 12ft in size,” explains Larry “LJ” Holmes, Principal Investigator at ASTRO America. “Additive manufacturing at a massive scale holds the potential to transform the way vehicles are built for the military while reducing supply chain fragility.” Secondly, being monolithic, these hulls for combat vehicles are advantageous in their ability to improve light-weightiness and survivability
“This is an ideal project for ASTRO America and its highly experienced team,” Jason Gorey, ASTRO America’s Executive Director concludes. “This is not a research project for either hardware, software or materials. This is a direct implementation project where we scale existing but advanced methodologies to the required hull-scale size. We will be working with equipment vendors as well as system integrators to deliver on this project.” For more information about the U.S. Army’s deal with ASTRO America, you can read the full press release HERE.
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*Cover photo source military.com