The Office of Naval Research will meet with 200 industry reps later this month in advance of the Navy’s deep dive into additive manufacturing — aka 3D printing.

The Navy wants to give its ships at sea the capability of making parts as needed, something that not only will come in handy in emergency but would preclude the need to carry many spare parts that — ideally — never have to be used.

In September, the Navy expects to formally ask for proposals and will use the upcoming July 15 Industry Day to brief industry officials about what it’s looking for and get them to think about how to improve existing 3D printing technology, ONR said in an announcement Monday.

“We’re developing quality AM [additive manufacturing] metal processes for naval applications with titanium, aluminum and stainless-steel alloys,” said Program Manager Billy Short. “Ideally, we would one day like to see additive manufacturing machines built that could be placed on vessels and perform well even in the toughest sea conditions, but that is another technical leap beyond this current program.”

But ONR envisions the advances benefiting ground and aviation assets, as well, and Short said ONR will be looking for new ideas for the additive manufacture of critical metal-cast parts such as impellers, engine mounts and transmission housings.

Among the challenges the Navy faces for shipboard 3D manufacturing is materials storage.

“There are significant safety concerns,” Lt. Ben Kohlman of the Chief of Naval Operations’ Rapid Innovation Cell noted during a discussion of the technology last year. “The powder that’s used in the aluminum or titanium is highly flammable.”

All the briefings will be unclassified, but industry reps taking part must be U.S. citizens, according to the announcement.

The event will be held at the Stonegate 2 Conference Center in Chantilly, Virginia.

Additional information and registration may be found here.

– Bryant Jordan can be reached at bryant.jordan@military.com.

PutinRussia’s Aerospace Defense Forces will not have their new military nuclear warning satellite systems in place until months later than anticipated, the Moscow Times reported June 30.

Citing the TASS news agency, the Times reports that Russia has delayed the launch of its new military satellites by at least four months, leaving the country unable to detect a potential nuclear attack from space.

[Continue reading…]


The failure of a SpaceX mission to resupply the International Space Station will have serious implications not only for the company’s civilian and commercial business, but also its ambitions to crack into the military market.

The explosion of the company’s Falcon 9 on June 28 over Cape Canaveral, Florida — more than two minutes into flight — came just a month after it was certified by the U.S. Air Force to carry military satellites. [Continue reading…]

A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket successfully launched the AFSPC-5 satellite for the U.S. Air Force from Space Launch Complex-41. This is ULA’s fifth launch in 2015 and the 96th successful launch since the company was formed in December 2006.

Any Uncle Sam replacement to the cheap yet powerful Russian rocket engine used to launch U.S. military satellites is still years away, officials acknowledged.

The Air Force currently contracts with a company called United Launch Alliance LLC, a Colorado-based joint venture between Lockheed Martin Corp. and Boeing Co., to launch military and spy satellites. ULA flies two families of rockets, Delta and Atlas. The latter is powered during its first stage by the Russian-made RD-180 kerosene-liquid oxygen engine. [Continue reading…]

Hoverbike (Source: Malloy Aeronautics)The U.S. Army is working on a futuristic “hoverbike” that could carry one to two soldiers up to ten feet off the ground at speeds around 60 miles per hour over land and water.

The Army Research Laboratory signed a contract nine months ago with SURVICE Engineering and Malloy Aeronautics to develop a hoverbike prototype for the Army to test in three to five years. SURVICE is based in Maryland and Malloy is based in Britain.

The two companies will first develop a commercial version of the hoverbike that can carry about 250 pounds and cost about $80,000 before the companies produce a military variant, said Mark Butkiewicz, SURVICE Engineering’s manager of applied technology. He explained that the Army would like the bike to carry about 400 to 800 pounds to allow soldiers to pack their weapons and equipment on board. [Continue reading…]