18:51 GMT +315 October 2019
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    This drone has an advanced electronically scanning radar on board, equipment usually much too bulky and expensive for such small craft.

    US Army Tests 3D Printed Drones for On-Demand Battlefield Manufacturing

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    The prospect of US soldiers manufacturing drones with 3D printers in a remote combat zone has been demonstrated in a successful test, the US Army announced in a press release on Thursday.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — In December, engineers from the Army Research Laboratory flight tested 3D-printed unmanned aircraft created with a new on-demand system, the release explained.

    "The system allows soldiers requiring unmanned aerial vehicle support to input their requirements into mission planning software and then receive a 3D-printed aerial vehicle within 24 hours," the release stated.

    The test drone with four rotary blades managed reach 55 miles per hour, despite a few kinks such as excessive vibration that need to be worked out, the release noted.

    The Army is researching the possible use of 3D printers by forward-deployed soldiers for multiple tasks.

    "This isn't just about [drones]," the project’s team leader and project manager Eric Spero said in the release. "It's about forward-deployed, 3D printing to help the soldier."

    For soldiers attending the December demonstration, Spero’s team also printed a Picatinny rail, which is a bracket used to mount accessories on a small arms weapon, such as an M4 carbine, the release explained.

    In about two and a half hours, they had a rail that fit the soldiers' weapons perfectly, the release added.

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