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By Kenneth W. Sullivan, Ph.D., P.E. – John Rice – Phillip Farrington, Ph.D. – Theodore Mayeshiba
Researchers at the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) and the Defense Acquisition University-South Region conducted separate studies (Sullivan, et al., 2015 and Rice, 2016) that evaluated the potential impacts of additive manufacturing (AM) on the U.S. rocket propulsion industrial base. The combined efforts provide a deep dive into a question that has arisen with the increased interest in AM technology: “Could adverse impacts or collateral damage to the aerospace and defense industrial base emerge as AM expands throughout the U.S. manufacturing sector?” The primary objective of the studies, and this article, is to begin determining AM’s applicability to the aerospace and defense industry and the risks and opportunities for the U.S industrial base.