Monday, 18 February 2019

3D printing, drones to be mainstream for military logistics

Soldiers gather at a military base in Yeongcheon, North Gyeongsang Province, before carrying out a search-and-rescue mission with drones, in this 2017 file photo. / Yonhap

Drones will transport military goods in 2024

By Lee Min-hyung

The military will embrace emerging technologies ― such as 3D printing and drones ― and turn them into mainstream logistics platforms, the Ministry of National Defense said Wednesday.

The move comes as part of the military’s ongoing Defense Reform 2.0 drive, under which the ministry is seeking to simplify and streamline outdated supply chains within military camps.

A big data-driven analytics system will stand at the center of the drive. Starting from 2020, the military plans to incorporate its data management system into logistics sectors, which will help build a more scientific defense logistics platform here, according to the ministry.

“We are pushing for establishing a state-of-the-art military components production facility by taking advantage of 3D printing technology,” a ministry official said. “This is part of our efforts to procure some parts whose production has been discontinued.

“Under the drive, we are now producing 10 military items using 3D printing technology. We will increase the number under close collaboration with private industrial and research organizations.”

The military and the Ministry of Science and ICT are training about 360 officers to make them 3D printing experts. The defense ministry plans to educate more staff in the area and widen the use of the technology in the military.

The defense ministry also said it would take advantage of drones as a major source of transportation.

“Drones are a much more efficient source of transportation than helicopters when delivering munitions, food and medicines,” the official said.

Starting from the latter half of the year, the military will introduce 10 drones to transport military goods, and conduct tests on their security and efficiency by 2023.

“In 2024, drones will then be dispatched to major military camps of the Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps,” the official said. “The drones will be used to supply ammunition, food and medicines to all military bases nationwide.”

The ministry also said it would finish developing and distributing a new lightweight combat uniform ― consisting of a helmet, bulletproof vest and combat fatigues ― called the “Warrior Platform” by 2022. This will help soldiers develop an advanced level of personal combat skills, according to the military.

The defense ministry said it would introduce other rising technologies to embrace the global tech trend and build a modern military.


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