Imagine a Brigade Producing Parts on a Battlefield
(Breaking Defense) Imagine a company or brigade able to produce repair parts on the battlefield. The Army alone spends billions of dollars buying parts every year. Every Army unit carries large parts stockpiles to keep rolling. This is costly and adds a huge burden to a unit as it deploys and is moving around the battlefield. Fewer manufacturers are interested in producing small batches of specialized military items for the fleets that have dwindled from their Cold War expanse. The explosion of unique, constantly evolving low-density equipment used in Iraq and Afghanistan has exacerbated this issue.
The Defense Department is very interested in 3D Printing. Additive manufacturing could rescue the US military from the over-reliance on homogeneous fleets prone to systemic flaws. Because 3D printers aren’t tied to mass production to meet economies of scale, they could support a diverse equipment fleet using different subsystems and components.