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Aerospace

U.S. Navy Will 3D Print Metal Parts for Trident Missile System

25 March 2016

The United States Navy has teamed up with Metal Technology (MTI) to develop and demonstrate advanced aerospace additive manufacturing techniques for low-cost manufacturing of refractory metal components for U.S. Navy missile propulsion systems that are used on the Trident D5 missile system.
The Trident D5 missile system is a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) that was built by Lockheed Martin Space Systems. The missile system was first deployed in March 1990 on U.S. Ohio-class submarines with 24 missiles each.The Trident D5 missile system. (Image Credit: Lockheed Martin)The Trident D5 missile system. (Image Credit: Lockheed Martin)
The Trident D5 is expected to remain in service until 2042, but the current manufacturing techniques for refractory metal components of the propulsion system are very complex and labor intensive. So, in an attempt to reduce costs and complexity of development, MTI will employ advanced metal 3-D printing technology to fabricate refractory metal parts.
"Phase one of this project is to develop processes and demonstrate the fabrication of simplified, sub-scale articles using C103 Niobium alloy and provide approaches for fabrication of additional refractory metals/alloys, including Molybdenum and Tantalum. We are excited to be part of this very important project and look forward to leveraging our experience working with these materials for over 40 years combined with our experience with additive manufacturing to develop some truly innovative solutions," said Gary Cosmer, Chief Executive Officer of MTI.
Developing these types of 3-D-printed metal parts comes along with a series of requirements.
The piece must be able to survive exposure to greater than 3,200° Fahrenheit gaseous environments for 10 minutes at 550 psi, and achieve mechanical properties that meet or exceed the properties derived from traditional processing methods.



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