The European Defense Agency (EDA) has announced they launching of a new research project set to explore the beneficial impact 3D printing could provide the agency – the Additive Manufacturing Feasibility Study & Technology Demonstration. The EDA has enlisted both the MBDA FR missile manufacturing company and the Spanish technology center Fundación Prodintec for their initiative. According to sources from the EDA, the project will explore “the entire spectrum of European defence and additive manufacturing stakeholders, at all levels of defence and additive manufacturing supple chains.” 3D printing technologies are anticipated to reap great benefits to the defense parameters, specifically in the areas of durability, versatility and overall protection.

The EDA has segmented the project into 3 specific objectives:

  • The first objective consists of a “desktop study.” The ultimate goal of this first objective is to find the various opportunities 3D printing technologies provides. It is also intended to identify the factors and issues which are limiting the technologies integration and development of additive manufacturing technologies within the European defense system.
  • The second objective will be a physical tech demonstration of 3D printing. In this demonstration, the EDA will conduct a simulated scenario in which additive manufacturing is deployed to aide them in defense. The purpose of this second component of the research project is to display how and to what extent the technologies can and will be used to provide assistance and support for military operations.
  • The third and final objective of the initiative will be the presentation of the results from the first 2 objectives with the drawn conclusions. In this presentation, various types of 3D printing technology equipment will be displayed and demonstrated – including physical objects produced through the means of additive manufacturing. The purpose of this final component of the project is to ultimately promote the technology the various benefits it could provide the agency, as well as promote technological awareness to those in the multiple departments within defense industry.

In addition to these 3 objectives of the research project, the EDA has started a consultation process for stakeholders of multiple industries, including the European Commission, the European Space Agency and additive manufacturing companies, to partake in. It consists of different surveys and interviews regarding 3D printing technologies. The EDA hopes this project will provide insights into the additive manufacturing industry’s benefits and potential to those in the defense industry.