A 3D-printed surveillance drone, already successfully flight-tested, weighing a mere four kilograms and with a range of 50 kilometers, has been presented at the Innoprom-2016 exhibition in Russia.
Currently, it takes one day to 3D-print the UAV’s elements, while assembling them takes just 15-20 minutes. The UAV has a wingspan of 2.4 meters, the UAV’s producer United Instrument Manufacturing Corporation (UIMC) said as cited by Russian news agencies.
Airbus showcases 3D-printed drone at Aerospace expo in Berlin
The drone’s propulsion system is a domestically manufactured engine, with an operational range of up to 50 kilometers.
The aircraft can be equipped with different types of photo and video cameras and communication devices, making it a handy inexpensive tool for reconnaissance and monitoring.
“Additive technology makes serial production of the unit a considerably shorter and cheaper process,” said Sergey Skokov, UIMC deputy CEO. A principal advantage of the 3D-printed drone is that any damaged element of its hull can be quickly and effectively manufactured “even in the field,” Skokov added.
Skokov said that cheap 3D-printed drones could be a step towards realizing having massive drone deployments on battlefields, to solve different combat assignments.
In late May, a defence source told TASS that one of the drone models used by Russia is to be modified to beused as a kamikaze.