May 31, 2018


US Air Force Is Waiting a Year for Parts That It Could 3D-Print (MARCUS WEISGERBER, 5/29/18, Defense One)

Someday, the military will 3D-print missiles as needed, the U.S. Air Force's acquisition chief says. In the shorter term, he just wants to use additive manufacturing technology to get broken planes back in the air. The roadblock is legal, not technical.

"I have airplanes right now that are waiting on parts that are taking a year and a half to deliver. A year and a half," Will Roper, the assistant Air Force secretary for acquisition, technology and logistics, said in an interview.

Today's 3D-printers could make short work of those deliveries, but some of those parts' original manufacturers control the intellectual property -- and there not clear policy for dealing with that.

The reason "I can't say we're going to do it is we're talking about government contracts and IP, so I have lawyers that are helping me and other contracts folks," Roper said. "But it's an area I'm going to stay focused because I see a way for win-win. And that doesn't happen often in the government."

Posted by at May 31, 2018 5:00 AM