Uncertain Times for DefenseADCs and DACs Penetrate Sacred Ground
By Barry Manz

The impact of converting analog signals to digital form is one of the greatest advances the electronics industry has ever achieved.

Defense News

Northrop Grumman MMICs Speed AEHF Production
Northrop Grumman has fabricated more than 36,000 MMICs covering frequencies from 300 MHz to 300 GHz for the U.S. Air Force's fifth and sixth Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) satellites, speeding production of both spacecraft, according to Space Daily.

Article Highlights China Cruise Missile Threat
While the world focuses on China’s ballistic missiles, the country is rapidly developing advanced capabilities for its cruise missiles, according to The National Interest. This is occurring at the same time the U.S. Navy has limited the type and quantity of its own anti-ship cruise missiles, according to the article.

Iran Claims It Reverse-Engineered RQ-170 UAV
Iran says it has copied announced on Sunday that it has copied an RQ-170 Sentinel UAV that it says the country "commandeered" in 2011, after his allegedly being "brought down by the Iranian Armed Forces' electronic warfare unit" in December 2011, according to Iran's Tasnim News Agency. That Iran captured the UAV is not in doubt: U.S. President Barack Obama asked Iran sent to return it after it was captured.

Israeli Navy Gaining Greater Capabilities
The Israel Navy has begun a program to enhance its sea-to-surface missile capabilities, a senior naval source told The Jerusalem Post, who said that the efforts were part of a planned program to increase the role of the navy in integrated warfare capabilities.

House House to Keep A-10, Other Programs
The House Armed Services Committee (HASC) is opted to fund a broad array of projects and has stated its goal of protecting every possible defense system. For example, the committee left the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter largely intact and up the funding for Boeing's EA-18G Growler electronic attack aircraft.

EW Development Key Element of 2015 Budget
The proposed defense budget may be leaned out but electronic warfare will receive considerable funding as the need for it is growing, according to an interesting story in the LA Times.

Insight into Hypersonic Weapons
An article in The Interpreter published by the Lowy Institute for International Policy contains an interview by Harry Kazianis, a non-resident senior fellow at the China Policy Institute (University of Nottingham) with John Stillion, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA) into the workings of hypersonic weapons.

March 2013

3-D Printing: Growing Like a Weed

Only a few years ago, 3-D printing for the masses was essentially unknown outside of laboratories and academia, but that is changing rapidly. In fact, the use of 3-D printing to produce parts for final products is encroaching on 30% of the total number of 3-D printed parts, according to analyst firm Wohlers Associates, which has been following this market closely as long as anyone. Production of final parts rose to 28.3% of the $2.2 billion spent globally in 2013 on 3D printing products compared to 3.9% in 2003.

While various market analysts have slightly different views on the growth of 3-D additive printing, this plot is typical as it shows the industry growing rapidly through 2020.

Parts for final products, according to Wohlers Associates, is likely to move well beyond prototyping applications because the ratio of prototypes to production parts is often 1:1,000 or greater making the opportunity for commercial production based on additive manufacturing enormous. Although some of the most well-publicized uses of 3-D printing include dental crowns and bridges as well as orthopedic implants and jewelry, the aerospace industry is not far behind and moving fast.

Boeing, a big proponent of additive manufacturing, produces control system ducting that directs airflow on military and commercial aircraft, and GE will use 3D-printed fuel nozzles on its next-generation LEAP engine, making about 40,000 nozzles a year for its aircraft engines over the next few years. Rolls-Royce is also investigating the use of 3-D printing to make the parts used in aircraft engines lighter as well.

As for the industry as a whole, a report from Wohlers Associates projects that the 3-D printing industry will post double-digit growth reaching $6 billion by 2017 and $10.8 billion by 2021. Looking back, it took the industry 20 years just to get to $1 billion in revenue, and five years later it rose to $2 billion. The company expects it to double again to $2 billion in 2015.

Wohlers Associates is not the only market research firm that projects massive increases in the 3-D printing market in the coming years. A market research report from MarketsandMarkets shows the market growing at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 23% to 2020, reaching $8.41 billion. The two reports agree that for obvious reasons the industry will focus its attention on volume manufacturing.

The main driving factors responsible for the explosive growth of the 3D printing market include new and improved technologies, a variety of materials ranging from polymers to living tissue, supportive regulations, government funding, a huge untapped market, and the expiration of patents on Selective Laser Sintering (SLS). Other factors include new materials such as polymers, metals/alloys, sand, ceramics, and even living tissue, government funding, a huge number of potential applications, and the increasing revelation by traditional manufacturers of the benefits provided by 3-D additive manufacturing over traditional techniques.

Still another market analyst, Gartner, predicts that shipments of 3-D printers will dramatically increase over the 49% it grew in 2013 that showed worldwide shipments of 3-D printers costing less than $100,000 totaling 56,507 units. Gartner says that shipments will increase by 75% in 2014 to 98,065 units, and double that in 2015.

Gartner expects end-user spending on 3-D printers to exceed the roughly $412 million spent in 2013, which was 43% greater than the $288 million spent in 2012. Spending will increase in 2014 by 62% reaching $669 million with enterprise spending of $536 million and consumer spending of $133 million.

The Freedonia Group, yet another analyst, projects 3-D printing growth of 20% per year to $5 billion in 2017, stating that design and prototype operations will continue to be the primary applications but that production-level operations will grow much faster. The company also sees significant growth in printing materials such ABS, PLA, and nylon, as well as metals for applications in the industrial and aerospace markets.

Freedonia believes that the US will continue to be the 3-D printing leader for the seeable future accounting for 42% of global sales in 2017, with Western Europe and Asia Pacific rapidly increasing their presence. Not surprisingly, China is expected to rapidly increase its use of 3-D additive printing as its enormous capabilities and consumer products manufacturing make it a welcome resource as labor costs increase.


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MMD March 2014

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Current Articles

3-D Printing Boresights Antenna Manufacturing
Additive 3-D manufacturing, that is, making a three-dimensional solid object of virtually any shape based on a model created in a 3-D design tool, is changing the way many products are made and who can make them.

2015 Defense Budget Retains Key Programs
On March 2, President Obama revealed the 2015 federal budget, and although in its present form it has absolutely no chance of being passed by Congress, it does contain what the Pentagon and the administration believe the US needs to maintain its strong military presence throughout the world.

No Country for Old Wart Hogs?
When federal agencies propose budget cuts, trade-offs are inevitable. The latest example comes from Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, who on February 24 recommended among other things to mothball the venerable fleet of Air Force A-10 “Warthog” close-air-support aircraft and the legendary U-2, while reducing the number of Littoral Combat Ships (LCS) from 52 to 32.

3-D Printing: Growing Like a Weed
Only a few years ago, 3-D printing for the masses was essentially unknown outside of laboratories and academia, but that is changing rapidly. In fact, the use of 3-D printing to produce parts for final products is encroaching on 30% of the total number of 3-D printed parts, according to analyst firm Wohlers Associates, which has been following this market closely as long as anyone.

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