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THE BRAVE NEW WORLD: THREE-D PRINTING REACHES THE FRONT LINES: FORCE ...

December 6, 2012 By Joseph P. Farrell

One of the things I've been fascinated by in the always developing world of technology, and the fantastic vistas it is opening up, is three-dimensional printing, a new technology that is about as close to desktop manufacturing that one can imagine> I have blogged previously about the culture-transforming aspects of this technology, and even about the way it would transform warfare itself.

As usual, however, someone has already foreseen it and is already doing it:

US Military Invests in Three D Printing on the Front Line

The force-multiplier effect of this technology is thus breath-taking, even if considered only and solely from the standpoint of conventional operations: imagine being able to replace a part to a damaged tank, say, a portion of its track, or a bogey wheel, something fairly innocuous, but something which, as any tank commander knows, can put his vehicle out of action. Or imagine being able, on the spot, to manufacture bullets and magazines for automatic weapons... and, as the technology evolves and more capabilities and types of materials and complex manufacturing is added, grenades, rocket launchers...and...

In short, the technology will not only be a force multiplier but will bring about radical changes in logistical considerations. The article talks about replacement parts, but, it is conceivable over time that logistics will consist, not of the transport of weapons and supplies to a particular operational area, but of their manufacture on the spot... this will dramatically change the nature of warfare and defense budgets, for the measure of military power will become not how many nuclear missiles or tanks or submarines one has, but how much 3-D manufacturing capacity one has (and I hope you caught the implications of the mention of nuclear weapons and three-D printing in the same breath).

Imagine, too, that such technology could be developed to provide on the spot medical equipment for wounded soldiers, even prosthetic capability...

We are looking at a real paradigm changer here folks, one that will completely transform the nature of operations: Enemy surrounded? Cut off from supplies? not so important, if they have a three-D printing capacity and the requisite material so supply ammunition, vehicles, replacement parts...and as the technology develops, even food.

See you on the flip side...