UK engineering company Babcock says that it has installed metal 3D printed parts in a range of British Army vehicles while on active service.

According to the company, the steel powder parts have been fitted onto the periscopes of its Titan, and Trojan armored vehicles.

Babcock says that it plans to develop ways to additive manufacture (AM) parts anywhere in the world at the point of need. This could include onboard sea vessels or at military sites.

“If a component is required and cannot be sourced, we can now find a way to make it,” said chief executive, Tom Newman. “As we look to the future of Equipment Support, additive manufacturing has significant implications for our customers.”

“This marks a major milestone in finding solutions for obsolete parts and in tackling resilience in the supply chain – some of the biggest challenges engineering and manufacturing businesses like ours are facing,” added Babcock CTO Dr Richard Drake.

“The fitting of this additively manufactured part represents a key milestone for defence and the Army,” said Brigadier Phil Prosser, assistant chief of staff. “Additive has disrupted industry manufacturing processes and created an agile alternative to traditional mass manufacture.

“This ability to rapidly manufacture parts will allow our equipment to rapidly deploy on operations, and to stay in the fight for longer.”

Babcock currently maintains 50,000 vehicles for the British Army including quad bikes, generators, main battle tanks and weapons.