Air Force Introduces 3-D Printing In Maintenance Of Fighter Jets
(Source: The Korea Herald; issued Nov 26, 2015)
The Air Force has introduced three-dimensional printing in its production of engine components for fighter jets which helps cut budget and time on maintenance, it said Thursday.

So far this year, 14 of the Air Force's F- 15K fighter jets have been repaired with 3-D printed high-pressure turbine shrouds, an engine component, according to the Air Force.

The engine part originally costs 40 million won ($34,900) per unit and takes about 60 days to procure from abroad,

With the introduction of the new method, the cost went down to 3 million won with the procurement time cut to 20 days, the Air Force said.

The Air Force developed the 3-D printed component over two years in collaboration with Insstek, a local metal 3-D printing firm, since finding an abrasion in the turbine shrouds of F-15Ks' F110 engines in 2012.

The U.S.-based engine producer, GE Aviation, approved the quality and safety of the component printing, according to the Air Force.

Spurred on by the feat, the Air Force has also produced samples of three other airplane parts and 13 components for ground-based equipment through 3-D printing, the Air Force added.

If the new components are mass-produced, it may reduce the Air Force's maintenance budget by 130 million won each year, it also noted. (Yonhap)

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