US Navy's Trident II Ballistic Missile Has 3-D Printed Component

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  • 06:53 AM, March 19, 2016
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US Navy's Trident II Ballistic Missile Has 3-D Printed Component
Trident II D5 fleet ballistic missile (Image: Lockheed Martin)

The US Navy's Trident II D5 Fleet Ballistic Missile has used a 3-D-printed missile component called the connector backshell during the recent test flights.

The Navy recently conducted successful test flights (March 14 to 16) of three Trident II D5 Fleet Ballistic Missiles built by Lockheed Martin.

Lockheed Martin designed and fabricated the new component. The connector backshell, which protects cable connectors in the missile, is made from an aluminum alloy and measures about an inch across, the company said in a statement Friday.

The Navy launched the unarmed missiles in the Atlantic Ocean from a submerged submarine. The missiles were converted into test configurations using kits produced by Lockheed Martin that contain range safety devices and flight telemetry instrumentation. The test flights were part of a Follow-on Commander's Evaluation Test of the Trident Strategic Weapon System.

The 3-D-printed component for the D5 missile is an example of the improved products and processes enabled by Lockheed Martin's Digital Tapestry, a set of advanced manufacturing tools that connect a product's digital life from concept to production to sustainment. Lockheed Martin also has flown additively manufactured parts on planetary probes, satellites and spacecraft for human use.

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