The US Navy and Lockheed Martin have debuted the first Fleet Ballisted Missile programme 3D-printed component during a recent Trident II D5 test flight.
The 3D-printed connector backshell, which is composed entirely of aluminium alloy and safeguards the cable connectors in the missile, was used in the three test flights of D5 ballistic missile.
The digital printing process employed in creating the component is said have reduced the time consumed during the manufacturing of the product.
The 3D-printed component incorporated into the D5 missile replicates the range of products developed by Lockheed Martin's Digital Tapestry, which is a set of manufacturing tools that engages in the course of a product's life-cycle starting from its inception to its production and sustainment.
During the tests, the navy launched unarmed missiles in the Atlantic Ocean from a submerged submarine, where it was converted into test configurations employing kits developed by Lockheed which consisted of a range of safety devices and flight telemetry instrumentation.
The test flights were part of a Follow-on Commander's Evaluation Test of the Trident strategic weapon system.
Lockheed Martin Space Systems fleet ballistic missile programmes vice-president Eric Scherff said: "These tests demonstrate the readiness and reliability of this crucial system that protects what matters most for the nation.
"The Trident Strategic Weapon System stands guard every minute of every day, thanks to the dedication and forward thinking of the navy programme office, the submarine crews and the industry team."
Image: An image of the 3D connector backshell. Photo: courtesy of Lockheed Martin.