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3D printer from Naval Group taken onboard French aircraft carrier.

| 2019

After a second massive dry docking for technical issues, French aircraft carrier, the "Charles de Gaulle", is ready to take part to new operations afloat, newly equipped with a 3D printer. Actually, it has already been part of Fanal exercise in the Mediterranean Sea, alongside the FREMM "Provence", the commandement ship "Marne", a nuclear attack submarine, Spanish SPS frigate "Cristobal Colon" and US destroyer "USS Donald Cook".

3D printer from Naval Group taken onboard French aircraft carrier 3D printer onboard PHA Dixmude (Picture source : Naval Group)

During this dry docking, the carrier received some improvements and new equipments, including EOMS NG system, SMART-S and SCANTER 6002 radars, improved computer networks, etc... In addition to that, a 3D printer has been installed onboard the "Charles de Gaulle". Before that, the French "Marine Nationale" (French Navy) had already installed such a printer onboard the "Porte-hélicoptères amphibie" Dixmude (Landing helicopter dock).

As a reminder, 3D printing allows personnel to manufacture custom-made objects and parts (and even small structures if needed). This technology aims to help crew onboard ships to deal with various issues by creating parts whether where they are on the globe, avoiding them to go back to port every time a problem occurs.

Though, the 3D printer that will be installed onboard the carrier will only be used to produce small parts and components, the kind that can be found in any do-it-yourself shop. By no means this printer will be used to manufacture critical parts of an aircraft or of the vessel itself. In order to do so, a bigger printer with an increased certification would be needed.

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