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US Navy Looks at Connecting its 3D Printers on a Blockchain

Last Updated March 4, 2021 4:57 PM
Rebecca Campbell
Last Updated March 4, 2021 4:57 PM

The U.S. Department of the Navy (DoN) has revealed that it is embracing a disruptive new technology, the blockchain, to conduct a series of experiments to explore the potential of 3D printing.

In an announcement, the Navy said that it would utilize the blockchain technology to securely share data between Additive Manufacturing, commonly known as 3D printing, in addition to helping secure the digital thread of design and production.

Conducted by the Naval Innovation Advisory Council (NIAC) lieutenant commander Jon McCarter, wrote in a blog post , that the Naval Additive Manufacturing was a ‘perfect match’ when combined with the blockchain.

He said:

The ability to secure and securely share data throughout the manufacturing process (from design, prototyping, testing, production, and ultimately disposal) is critical to Additive Manufacturing and will form the foundation for future advanced manufacturing initiatives.

This summer the NIAC is expected to conduct its tests with the blockchain, which will also include a proof-of-concept. A report following the tests is to follow in September, which is expected to show a practical application of the blockchain in a controlled environment.

This is thought to be the first application of interest by the U.S. Navy as it explores the distributed ledger.

However, while it’s being used by the Navy for the first time, in the past the blockchain has also been applied for other military use.

Last October, it was reported that the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) had started working on funding efforts that would see whether the technology could be used to secure highly sensitive data from nuclear weapons to military satellites.

More recently, though, a former DoD official has spoken out and urged the U.S. Foreign Relations Committee that it must guard itself against cyberattacks by focusing more on blockchain investments. According to Eric Rosenbach, the U.S. is susceptible to a cyberattack from the likes of North Korea and that such an attack is likely to take place ‘within the next year.’

While the Department of Homeland Security has awarded millions of dollars in grants to blockchain researchers to advance cybersecurity projects.

Featured image from Shutterstock.