Analysis of additive manufacturing for sustainment of naval aviation systems
Coyle, David M.
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To preserve national security, the United States Navy must continuously explore new technologies that can enhance warfighting capabilities, increase weapon system readiness and operate in a narrowing fiscal environment. The high cost of sustainment of military systems, coupled with extended life cycles, has compelled the Department of the Navy to find innovative ways to sustain in-service equipment. Additive manufacturing, also known as 3D printing, is one technology that demonstrates potential to provide novel warfighting capabilities and reduce sustainment costs of military weapon systems. But how can the Navy leverage the cost savings and lead-time reductions promised by additive manufacturing and simultaneously minimize the risks associated with a rapidly evolving technology? This thesis explores the technical and logistical factors necessary to identify applications of additive manufacturing for sustainment of in-service naval aviation equipment. The thesis introduces a component selection methodology to query the aviation spare-parts inventory for identification of additive manufacturing candidates. The methodology organizes the resultant data using a top-down approach that aligns technical feasibility with programmatic objectives. Finally, a discrete event simulation (DES) in Innoslate analyzes the data to provide engineers and logisticians with a decision-management framework to support the development of a business case for additive manufacturing.
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