The US Air Force's sixth Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF-6) satellite will feature the first 3-D printed part, a Remote Interface Unit, an aluminum electronic enclosure designed to hold avionic circuits.
By going from multiple machined parts to one 3-D printed part, Lockheed Martin was able to save time in the design and production cycle, as well as increase the quality and consistency of the units, the company press release stated. The lead time for manufacturing the part went from six months to only 1.5 months, with assembly time also being reduced from 12 hours to just three hours.
"3-D printing provides the ability to rapidly implement innovation by controlling production from design through implementation with one digital model," said Iris Bombelyn, vice president of Protected Communications at Lockheed Martin Space Systems. "By providing affordable, innovative solutions for our customers with a reduced timeline, we are able to adjust to the rapidly changing environment of military space."
AEHF is a global military satellite communications system that provides protected, assured communication for strategic commanders and tactical warfighters. Lockheed Martin will deliver the fourth AEHF vehicle in 2017. AEHF-5 and AEHF-6 are in production and are on track to launch in 2018 and 2019, respectively.
The qualified part onboard AEHF-6 was built using a process called Laser Powder Bed Fusion additive manufacturing, in which a laser melts and fuses aluminum metal powder layer-by-layer to build a part based on a digital design. The electronic enclosure will serve as a model for use on other programs that are designed using the A2100 satellite bus.
Leonardo DRS has selected a location in Tuskegee, Alabama to set up a new aircraft manufacturing facility to produce its T-100 integrated jet training system should it be selected by the U.S
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
The Royal British Navy tested a Southampton Universtiy designed 3-D printed drone, Sulsa on its Ship HMS Mersey Tuesday. The drone was launched using a three meter catapult and autonomously flown between pre-programmed way points for five minutes before being piloted to a safe belly landing, MIT Technologyreview website reported Wednesday
Lockheed Martin and the Office of US Naval Research are exploring how to apply artificial intelligence to train robots to independently oversee and optimize 3-D printing of complex parts. Soon robots like this could make decisions on how to build more effective 3-D printed parts
Lockheed Martins fifth Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF-5) satellite successfully completed the environment tests and is now in system-level testing in preparation for delivery to the U.S
A SpaceX Falcon rocket lifted off from the Kennedy Space Center on Monday to boost a classified spy satellite into orbit for the US military then turned around and touched down at a nearby landing pad. SpaceX on Monday blasted off a secretive US payload, known as NROL-76, marking the first military launch for the aerospace company headed by billionaire tycoon Elon Musk, various media reported today
US Air Force scrambled two F-22 stealth fighter jets and an E-3 airborne early warning plane to intercept two Russian nuclear-capable Tu-95 bombers near Alaska Monday night. The two bombers flew approximately 280 miles southwest of Elmendorf Air Force base within US Air defense identification zone Monday night, two US officials were quoted as saying by
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