"There is great promise in additive manufacturing and healthcare, Campbell said. If a sailor experiences an emergency at sea and needs a new liver immediately, it is possible that future 3D printers could simply print out the organ, which would allow a life to be saved without hindering the mission, he said.

One possible use could include 3D-printed unmanned aerial aircraft. They could be disposable, cheap and used for a variety of purposes including combat, and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, said Navy Lt. Ben Kohlman, a founding member of the CNO's rapid innovation cell, an initiative that allows junior leaders to identify and field emerging technologies.

They could be useful in a future sea battle, Kohlman said. He envisioned a situation where sailors were able to print out "hundreds and hundreds" of drones aboard a ship and inundate an enemy vessel before it could strike.

Additive manufacturing could also be used to print out ship parts on the fly, Kohlman said. A 3D-printed part could be used temporarily until the ship was able to make it to port to replace it with a traditionally manufactured piece."

Photo via: National Defense Magazine

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Tags: 3d printing, dod, navy
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