The Marine Corps envisions eventually using additive manufacturing to create efficiencies in its supply chain and thereby "balance” its maintenance, according to the service's top aviation officer.
The objective is to "be more efficient in how we" operate, Lt. Gen. Steven Rudder, deputy commandant for aviation, told reporters today after an event at a Washington think tank. "If we’re forward deployed in Asia and ordering that one part from the United States, would it not be more efficient if we could print it forward?"
During the discussion, Rudder referenced a part on the Marine Corps' V-22 Osprey the service had to order and replace if a single dial was broken. Rudder said using additive manufacturing allowed the service to both replace the dial and save money.
Asked if improvements like that would enable the Marine Corps to lower its overall maintenance budget in the future, Rudder said: "We're not there yet."
"Cost is always going to be a part of it," Rudder said, but these changes are "for the efficiency of having that part delivered to the flight line more rapidly.