Additive Manufacturing and Obsolescence Management for Defence

Close-up of 3D printer in action

Close-up of a 3-D printer in action

Photo by BY-SA 2.0


Additive manufacturing, also known as industrial 3-D printing, is being touted as a potentially revolutionary change to industry. RAND Europe presented research on additive manufacturing in the defence context at an Armasuisse conference in February 2015. The ensuing discussion highlighted interest in how additive manufacturing could help manage the obsolescence of components for defence equipment. RAND Europe prepared a short perspectives paper collecting the opinions of researchers in manufacturing and defence.


The research team gathered expert opinions and prepared a paper to help policymakers in defence understand the background and context regarding additive manufacturing and whether it could be useful for managing obsolescence in defence systems.

The research also highlights areas where further research could usefully be focussed to answer outstanding questions about how additive manufacturing could be applied to obsolete components in defence.