The US “shoot first and see if they are friends later” military is looking at a way of printing warheads using a 3D printer.
According to Army Technology the US is designing new shapes for warheads. Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center materials engineer James Zunino said it was all down to coming up with effective ways of blowing things up.
Warhead designers attempt to create blast effects that meet specific criteria, explained Zunino. They may want blast fragments of specific sizes to radiate in specific directions such that their blasts can most effectively destroy desired targets. The limits on what can be produced using machine tools limit warhead shapes. By lifting limitations through the expanded capabilities that come with additive manufacturing, space is used more efficiently.
“The real value you get is you can get more safety, lethality or operational capability from the same space,” Zunino said.
Apparently detonation physics is a whole new universe, according to Zunino. We guess that is if you just blow a hole into one.
3-D printed warheads could give troops and commanders more options about how and to what extent they should blow something up. It also has the advantage that they can get the weapons made faster.