Many of today’s weapons systems and platforms are legacy systems that were designed and manufactured decades ago, and now require expensive repair or replacement parts—and those parts are unavailable.
“Take the B-52 bomber, for instance,” says Brig. Gen. Allan E. Day, commander of Defense Logistics Agency Aviation. “It’s a legacy system that’s going to be on the flight line for a long time,” Day’s organization, DLA Aviation, supports more than 1,800 weapon systems and is the DoD’s manager for more than 1.1 million national stock number items, industrial retail supply, and depot-level repairable acquisitions. He hopes 3D printing will be a game changer for logistics and keeping legacy systems operational and economically viable.