March 18, 2016 / 5:43 PM / 4 years ago

U.S. Navy missile program uses first 3D printed component

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A U.S Navy ballistic missile program used its first component made from 3D printing, a process that sharply reduces the manufacturing time, according to the weapons’ producer, Lockheed Martin Corp.

In a statement on Friday, Lockheed said the missiles were part of successful test flights earlier this week.

The printing process allowed the company to design and fabricate the component in half the time it would have taken otherwise, it said.

The sixth-generation Trident II D5 Fleet Ballistic Missile used a 3D-printed connector backshell, which protects the cable connectors in the missile, Lockheed said.

U.S. Navy spokesman John Daniels said the new component “meets or exceeds the standards for fit, form and function.”

Reporting by Idrees Ali; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn

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