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In an attempt to shorten the U.S. military’s supply chain, the United States Army Research Laboratory has awarded a $15 million contract to 3D systems to develop a metal printing 3D printer.

The company will team up with the National Center for Manufacturing Sciences (NCMS) to develop the “largest, fastest, most precise metal 3D printer.”

The intent is to add capabilities to military supply chains developing and manufacturing combat vehicles, helicopters, missile defense capabilities, long rang munitions, and more.

The project is a part of the United States Army’s Additive Manufacturing Implementation Plan that uses 3D printing technologies to refurbish and create military parts and tools. mentions that once the 3D printer will be complete, it will be installed in military depots and labs. The military, as well as defense companies, will then have access to the 3D printer to support the development of future military technologies and platforms.

The printer will be able to efficiently design and produce durable parts that are intended to be in use for the long run. The technology will also improve the time it takes for developers to move products to markets and will reduce the amount of materials used.

Although possibly the biggest benefit stemming from the contract agreement is the strengthening of relations between the military and private businesses. The 3D metal printer will make life easier for both the military and the private defense sector working with military contracts. The new printer will almost definitely improve manufacturing while cutting expenses, thus making a more efficient use of taxpayer dollars.