On 26 October, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute published a report saying that additive manufacturing (AM) – aka 3D printing etc – has become an attractive production technology for the aerospace sector, particularly in the area of missiles, space launch vehicles and uncrewed aerial vehicles (UAV). AM is being used to produce a growing range of components for missiles and UAV. MTCR has been discussing AM since at least 2013 and seeks to update and harmonise the export controls of the participating states to mitigate the risks posed by AM and ensure the effectiveness of export controls. This report provides a short introduction to modern AM techniques and describes a range of specific applications of AM in missiles and other delivery systems. It discusses the proliferation risks posed by AM and the engineering and organisational considerations that have to be weighed against the technical capabilities of AM. It analyses the application of export controls to AM, primarily under the MTCR, by discussing controls on AM production equipment; feedstock materials; transfers of technology and technical assistance; and catch-all controls. The report concludes by outlining key measures through which the MTCR could strengthen its efforts to address AM and the proliferation risks and challenges to export controls it poses.
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