Marines are ready to launch a 3-D-printed drone, nicknamed the “Nibbler,” into combat zones in the upcoming weeks, reports 3D Printing Industry.
The Nibbler would be able to operate like other, far more expensive unmanned aircraft and conduct “over the hill” intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.
The Nibbler is composed of a few prefabricated pieces including a motor, batteries and spool of filament, and its body is printed using 3-D technology.
“Our team is very enthusiastic about the Nibbler, but even more enthusiastic about what it represents for the future,” Capt. Chris J. Wood told Defense Systems.
The Marines were the first service to 3D print military-grade ammunition and spare parts for weapon systems, Defense Systems reports.
“Imagine being in a forward deployed environment, and just like Amazon, you can ‘order’ the weapons and equipment you need for the next day’s mission from an entire catalog of possible solutions,” said Wood. “These solutions can all be upgraded literally overnight, in order to integrate new components or adapt to new requirements. On a very small scale, Nibbler shows us that this is possible right now with the group 1 UAS family of systems.”