Titomic and TAUV 3D printed in metal a soldier-enabled UAV that might unlock a key domestic and export defence capability. The 3D printed prototype has been shortlisted for Innovation Awards at Land Forces, the international defence exposition in Adelaide this week.

The Australian metal additive manufacturing company signed a Defence agreement with TAUV to produce a ruggedised soldier-enabled UAV by Titomic Kinetic Fusion.

TAUV specializes in the integration of electronics to develop intelligent platforms for advanced soldier systems, enhancing soldier safety and performance, enabling advanced tactical systems and ensuring operational advantage. The company takes advantage of advanced manufacturing processes to develop lightweight airborne assets such as tactical UAV platforms for defence, law enforcement and civil industry.

The prototype has been 3D printed in titanium and the award that follows this initial testing validates Titomic Kinetic Fusion’s potential applications in one of its target industries. As a reminder, the patented process “produces load-bearing 3D forms from fusing metallic powder feedstock sprayed at supersonic speeds.” Due to its 6-axis robot arm, the 3D printer sprays titanium powder particles onto a scaffold at supersonic speeds of around 1 km/s.

The next phase

A client in Adelaide will conduct further tests. Titomic explains that the testing to production phase in new Defence applications from the sales pipeline might take at least eighteen months. “This prototype has been accelerated with Client due to the synergies in the co-development of an innovative product. A ruggedised soldier-enabled UAV in Titanium improves stability and impact resistance, tamperproof payloads in the hands of enemies, external mounting for easy deployment and forward scouting of routes. The tactical UAV market is estimated to be worth $545 million in 2018 according to The Teal Group.

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