The US Navy Wants to Connect Its 3-D Printers with a Blockchain

The US Navy will run a blockchain trial this summer – a test largely aimed to boost the security of its manufacturing systems.

Jun 26, 2017 at 1:15 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 11, 2021 at 1:29 p.m. UTC

The US Navy's innovation arm has revealed plans to trial blockchain's potential to bring added security to its manufacturing systems.

In an announcement released last week, the Navy said it will apply the technology to its processes for additive manufacturing – known more popularly as 3-D printing – in a bid to "securely share data throughout the manufacturing process" as it creates "critical" equipment for deployed forces.

Led by the Naval Innovation Advisory Council, the trial will use blockchain to create a data-sharing layer between the Navy's 3-D various printing sites over the summer, with a report on its proof-of-concept effort due this autumn.

Lieutenant commander Jon McCarter wrote in a blog post last week:

"This summer the [Naval Innovation Advisory Council] will conduct a series of experiments (including a proof of concept) using blockchain technology to both securely share data between Additive Manufacturing sites, as well as help secure the digital thread of design and production."

Calling the intersection of blockchain and 3-D printing "a perfect match", McCarter wrote that identifying new avenues to share information between building sites "will form the foundation for future advanced manufacturing initiatives."

This is the first publicly acknowledged use case for blockchain announced by the Navy, though the Department of Defense has explored other applications for the technology. Further, a former DoD official recently called on the US government to more actively support the tech in the fight against cyberthreats.

Navy jet image via Shutterstock

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