Northrop Grumman Corporation has awarded the U.S. Naval Academy (USNA) Foundation a $150,000 grant to support additive manufacturing (3D printing) programs in the Academy’s Division of Engineering & Weapons.
The funding will go towards the further development of the USNA MakerSpace, a student-faculty 3D printing laboratory, and its associated engineering programs. Organized by the Academy’s Center for Material Characterization, the lab provides midshipmen with a modern, open, and adaptable design facility to create materials projects that will better equip the warfighter.
“Advancements in additive manufacturing are enabling the development of next-generation materials and equipment with reduced life-cycle costs to give our warfighters the tactical advantage against emerging threats in complex combat environments,” says Larry Ferranto, vice president, manufacturing, Northrop Grumman. “Investing in educational programs like this helps to develop critical manufacturing capability in future military leaders and further strengthens our important partnership with the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps.”
The grant will also assist student Capstone projects aligned with Northrop Grumman Mission System’s additive manufacturing programs, which include: a satellite component for the International Space Station, components for the Formula Society of Automotive Engineers racecar competition, and redesign of the U.S. Marine Corps All-Purpose Lightweight Individual Carrying Equipment Pack.
“Additive manufacturing has been a growing interest area for the Navy and the Naval Academy for the last several years and support from Northrop Grumman will enable advanced student research across a wide array of interdisciplinary projects,” says CAPT Brad Baker ’94, USN, associate professor of mechanical engineering at the Academy. “The Naval Academy’s research in additive manufacturing to support the warfighter aligns well with Northrop Grumman interests, and together we hope to better support overall Navy additive manufacturing goals by training the next generation of Navy and Marine Corps officers.”