The Shenyang J-15, also known as Flying Shark, is a carrier-based fighter aircraft developed by the Shenyang Aircraft Corporation in China for Chinese Navy. The aircraft is based on the Russian-designed Sukhoi Su-33 and is fitted with domestically produced radars and weapons, including PL-8 and PL-12 AAMs.
The first J-15 prototype made its maiden flight on Aug. 31, 2009. At the current state it is believed to be used primarily for air defense, with a secondary attack role.
Chief Architect Cong Sun recently unveiled that 3D printing has been widely used in designing and producing of the newest J-15 prototype which had its first successful test in October 2012. 3D printing has been used to manufacture critical titanium alloy load-bearing structure on the aircraft, including the entire nose landing gear.
China aims to become a leader in commercializing 3D printing technology to manufacture titanium parts in aviation industry. The laser additive manufacturing technology could save 90% of raw material, and the cost is only 5% of the traditional method - for example, the cost of a part made with traditional technology is 25 million RMB (4 million USD), but using laser additive manufacturing technology the cost is only 1.3 million (210K USD). Because no tooling is required, the processing charge is also just 10% of the orginal.
According to Chinese media, many complex parts can be produced using the Chinese 3D printing technology. So if the forged titanium parts on an American F-22 were made in China, 40 percent of the weight can be reduced while same strength could be maintained.
China's Laser Direct Manufacturing of Large Titanium Components
It's not only military planes that will benefit from this, the Northwestern Polytechnical University of China has also used the same technology to print out a complete central wing spar with Laser Additive Manufacturing technology for Comac C919 passenger-plane which is expected to take place in 2014 and to enter commercial service in 2016.
The J-15 fighter jet is scheduled to become operational by 2015. With funding from the government, the Chinese military is using this laser manufacturing technology to develop titanium parts for more next generation fighter jets.
Posted in 3D Printing Applications
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D3fendr wrote at 3/5/2013 4:06:43 PM:
How does the time to manufacture compare? We'd have a lot to worry about if they found a way to print on of these things in under an hour.