3-D printed parts and MV-22s
An MV-22B Osprey at Patuxent River Naval Air Station, Md. completed a test flight outfitted with a titanium, 3-D printed link– termed additive manufacturing (AM) by the Navy– and fitting assembly for the engine nacelle. This link and fitting assembly is one of four that secure a V-22’s engine nacelle to the primary wing structure and will remain on the aircraft for continued evaluation. The flight was performed using the standard V-22 flight performance envelope.
“The flight today is a great first step toward using AM wherever and whenever we need to. It will revolutionize how we repair our aircraft and develop and field new capabilities – AM is a game changer,” said Liz McMichael, AM Integrated Product Team lead in a presser from Naval Aviation Enterprise. “In the last 18 months, we’ve started to crack the code on using AM safely. We’ll be working with V-22 to go from this first flight demonstration to a formal configuration change to use these parts on any V-22 aircraft.”
In the end, being able to craft parts while underway and out of rapid replacement from shore-side CONUS facilities can keep birds in the air in a pinch, which can mean the difference in mission capability and cutting ops short. The Truman is already deploying with a 3-D printing suite and reportedly is working out just fine.