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    US Military Satellite Production Rates Boosted by 3-D Printed Parts

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    Lockheed Martin said that using parts made from 3-D printers has cut four months from the production schedule for components used in the US Air Force’s Advanced Extremely High Frequency military satellites.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Using parts made from 3-D printers has cut four months from the production schedule for components used in the US Air Force’s Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF-6) military satellites, Lockheed Martin said in a press release.

    “Lockheed Martin is using 3-D Printed Parts for US Military Satellites,” the release stated on Tuesday. “New process cuts more than four months out of the manufacturing lead time for a component on board the US Air Force's AEHF-6 satellite.”

    A Remote Interface Unit, an aluminum electronic enclosure designed to hold avionic circuits, will be the first 3-D printed part certified for use on a Lockheed Martin military satellite, the release added.

    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, Lockheed Martin noted.

    AEHF is a military satellite communications system that provides protected 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 due to launch in 2018 and 2019, the release said.

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