RAF Tornado Jets are Flying With 3D Printed Spare Parts

By Gary Cutlack on at

RAF contractor BAE Systems has revealed that some Tornado jets have been flying with spare parts built using a 3D printer, with layered metallic replacement bits featuring in some test flights last month.

Flights going out from BAE's Warton airfield have seen Tornado GR4s flying off with 3D printed cockpit radio covers, support struts and power take-off shafts. And it's not just for show. The dream is to shave £1.2m off the RAF's maintenance costs over the next four years, plus it may be possible to install printers in front line scenarios, speeding access to parts in remote war zones. [BBC]