The United States Air Force (USAF) has long been a recognized innovator in the federal government to drive mission success. But did you know that USAF is exploring the possibilities of 3D printing its own portable runways?
According to a recent article in GovDesignHub, the mats are easy to carry and solve one of the USAF’s “largest challenges in theater – allowing forward operation troops to land aircraft wherever they are needed.” The printed mats replace the aluminum mats that the USAF had been using but had had “problems with portability and durability.”
The printable mats are being developed in conjunction with Purdue University and an Indiana-based manufacturer, ITAMCOthrough the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. “The SBIR, “enables small businesses to explore their technological potential and provide the incentive to profit from its commercialization. By including qualified small businesses in the nation’s R&D arena, high-tech innovation is stimulated, and the United States gains entrepreneurial spirit as it meets its specific research and development needs.”
Want to learn more about innovative mission-focused design? You can read the full article on 3D printing technology here.
This article originally appeared on GovDesignHub on October 15, 2020.