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US Navy Submarine Official Ties 3D Printing to Submarine Production Goals

Undersea vessel


US Navy Submarine Official Ties 3D Printing to Submarine Production Goals

Rear Adm. Jonathan Rucker, the U.S. Navy’s program executive officer for attack submarines, told lawmakers on Wednesday that meeting build targets will depend on 3D printing.

The service branch seeks to build one Columbia-class and two Virginia-class submarines annually, Defense One reported Thursday.

Testifying before a House Armed Services subcommittee, Rucker stressed that the technology is the only way to satisfy demand for submarine components and sustain such vessels.

He said the first 3D-printed parts are already in the installation process, citing a component that was fitted on a ballistic missile submarine to stay on schedule and another undersea vessel’s key valve that was reverse-engineered to avoid a two-year delay.

Rucker noted that $2 billion of a $3.4 billion supplemental funding package proposed by the White House would finance the industrial base for submarines, with 15 percent expected to support the development of 3D printing and other emerging areas.

The Navy enlisted Australian company SPEE3D in May to deliver a 3D printing capability for submarine parts. Later in 2023, the Naval Postgraduate School tasked SPEE3D to deploy the same technology at a research and education center.

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Tags: 3D printing additive manufacturing Defense and Intelligence Defense One Jonathan Rucker submarine US Navy