A U.K. fighter jet equipped with metal components made with BAE Systems‘ 3D printing technology has taken its maiden flight.
The Tornado aircraft flew from the UK Ministry of Defence’s airfield at Warton, Lancashire late last month, BAE announced Monday.
3D printing has the potential to yield approximately $2 million in maintenance and service savings for the Royal Air Force during the next four years, according to a company statement.
A team of BAE engineers developed ready-made parts, such as protective covers for cockpit radios and guards for power take-off shafts for four squadrons of Tornado GR4 aircraft.
“You can manufacture the products at whatever base you want, providing you can get a machine there, which means you can also start to support other platforms such as ships and aircraft carriers.,” said Mike Murray, head of airframe integration at BAE Systems.
“And if it’s feasible to get machines out on the front line, it also gives improved capability where we wouldn’t traditionally have any manufacturing support.”