Since the U.S. military dropped the Massive Ordnance Air Blast (MOAB) bomb, or ‘Mother of All Bombs’, as is its nickname, on ISIS militants in Afghanistan in April, engineers at the Air Force Research Laboratory have been hard at work attempting to replace and update it.
According to 3Ders, these engineers are using 3D printing in order to develop such a replacement. The engineers believe “3D printed casing for the weapon could produce a larger blast with less debris…the new 3D printed bomb would be lighter and smaller than its predecessor, but would still cause huge damage to its targets.”
Dr. John Corley, who is a retired Four-Star Air Force General and Core Technical Competency Lead for Ordnance Sciences at the dedicated Air Force Research Laboratory spoke at a recent weapons showcase: “we’ve been working on printing [munitions] for the past five to ten years. 3D printing can be used to reduce the size of the bomb, particularly the thickness of its case walls. The result of doing this could be significant: with slender 3D printed casing, the bomb could provide a larger blast with less debris.”
Indeed, these researchers have 3D printed prototypes of these new casings “in a repeating diamond pattern, while 3D printing has also been used to fabricate fuse prototypes. Overall, 3D printing could provide many advantages for the Air Force as it develops its next generation of weapons. In addition to providing the bombs with a larger blast radius, 3D printed aspects could also reduce the bombs to a more appropriate size – something that is especially important as military aircraft get smaller.”
“The Air Force is currently weighing up whether it should make these new bombs in house or have them made by contracted companies. Either way, these 3D printed explosive devices are probably still a few years away from completion.”
Image and Quotes Courtesy of 3Ders