The Australian Army is set to trial an advanced metal 3D printing technology to boost its supply chain and capability.

Currently, the technology is being used by the Royal Australian Navy to maintain patrol vessels. The two-year pilot of SPEE3D technology started in November last year.

Australian company SPEE3D and Charles Darwin University (CDU) partnered to establish the Advanced Manufacturing Alliance (AMA) to deliver the technology.

SPEE3D’s supersonic 3D printing technology was first unveiled at Formnext 2017. The capability uses metal cold spray technology to print metal parts in minutes.

The Australian Department of Defence has funded A$1.5m ($990,000) for capability development. It aims to offer the Australian Defence Force with the ability to make metal parts on-demand in the field or sea at affordable costs.

Australian Army’s 1st Combat Service Support Battalion will participate in the 12-month pilot programme.

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Australian Defence Industry Minister Melissa Price said: “The partnership with CDU and SPEE3D demonstrates defence’s continued commitment to embracing advanced technologies that will speed up our processes.

“This will reduce the requirement for our soldiers to deploy with bulky repair parts, redefining how logistics are deployed on the future battlefield.

“It’s a great example of how Australian industry is at the forefront of global innovation, and providing unique solutions to filling capability gaps.”

An educational programme on the basics of the printing technology is currently being developed by CDU and the army.