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Trident ballistic missile flies with first 3D-printed part

by • March 18, 2016 • No Comments

Three-dimensional printing has been applied to handguns, rockets, hypersonic jet engines,bicycles, ears, objects d’art, and now submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBM). Lockheed Martin has revealed that the initially 3D printed components for an SLBM flew this week on test launches of three unarmed US Navy Trident II D5 Fleet Ballistic Missiles of a submerged submarine in the Atlantic Ocean. The component tests, that were conducted of March 14 to 16, are part of Lockheed’s program to turn it into an all-digital making system.

The component in question was a “connector backshell,” that fits over cable connectors and protects them of injure or accidental disconnection. It was created and manufactured via entirely digital systemes with 3D create files utilized to instruction a 3D printing machine.

The additive printing system utilized to turn it into the inch-wide (2.5 cm) connector backshell involves a satisfactory layer of aluminum alloy powder being laid down and a laser or electron beam, instructiond by a desktop, fvia the powder into a solid metal pattern corresponding to a layer in the finished product. The machine and so lays down another layer of powder and the system repeats itself until the component is consume. All that is and so needed is for the excess dust to be brushed away and the component smoothed and polished. The system reduces waste material and, according to Lockheed, takes just half the time of conventional methods.

The three flights were carried out under the Follow-on Commander’s Evaluation Test of the Trident Strategic Weapon System and were the latest of 160 test flights of the D5 missiles carried out since the create was consumed in 1989. As in other tests, the D5 missiles were converted for testing with kits that include safety devices and flight telemetry systems.

The Trident II D5 is already in service with on the US Navy’s Ohio class and the Royal Navy’s Vanguard class strategic nuclear ballistic missile submarines. Replacing the earlier Polaris and Poseidon missiles, the sixth-generation, three-stage Trident has a range of over 4,000 nm (4,600 mi, 7.400 km) and carries Multiple Independently Targeted Reentry Vehicles (MIRV).

Source: Lockheed Martin


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