On-Demand Small Unmanned Aircraft System

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The On-Demand Small Unmanned Aircraft System (ODSUAS) is a custom-tailored, miniature 3D printed drone created by the U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL) and Georgia Technical Institute’s Aerospace Systems Design Laboratory.[1] It was designed to provide flexible unmanned aircraft vehicle (UAV) support, where soldiers can input the specific requirements they need, such as size, weight, and endurance, into the mission-planning software before the drone is configured and 3D printed within 24 hours.[2][3] The process allows the manufacturing of additional drone parts as needed, eliminating the need to carry spare parts for different configurations. While a 3D printer constructs the body of the UAV, the motors, sensors, cameras, propellers, and other apparatus would have to be obtained from a standing inventory. [3][4]

The device can be tasked for missions involving perimeter surveillance, aerial defense, and reconnaissance.[5] On December 2016, ARL researchers first tested it at Fort Benning, Georgia as part of the Army Expeditionary Warrior Experiments (AEWE) program.[6] The researchers were given feedback s for possible improvements, such as improved agility, noise reduction, and heavier payload capacity.[7] The ODSUAS was shown to demonstrate flight speeds of up to 55 miles per hour.[5]

ARL researchers have stated that the manufacturing of 3D printed drones is only the first step of the project and that the overall goal is to leverage 3D printing as a way to produce mission-specific tools in a short amount of time.[3]


  1. ^ Browne, Jack (February 6, 2017). "ARL's 3D Printing Produces Custom Drones". Microwaves & RF. Retrieved July 13, 2018.
  2. ^ O'Neal, Bridget (January 4, 2017). "ODSUAS: Army Researchers Create 3D Printed On-Demand Small Unmanned Aircraft System". 3DPrint.com. Retrieved July 13, 2018.
  3. ^ a b c Stone, Adam (February 23, 2018). "For the Army, a 3-D printed drone is nice. A customized, 3-D printed drone is better". Defense News. Retrieved July 13, 2018.
  4. ^ Myers, Meghann (January 4, 2017). "Army testing 3-D printed drones for on-demand recon". Army Times. Retrieved July 13, 2018.
  5. ^ a b West, Nicholas (January 11, 2017). "3D Printed Drone Swarms Could Give U.S. Army On-Demand Eyes In The Sky". Activist Post. Retrieved July 13, 2018.
  6. ^ Bhat, Aditya (January 7, 2017). "US Army flight tests 3D-printed drone to support soldiers on patrol". IBT Times. Retrieved July 13, 2018.
  7. ^ Watkin, Hanna (January 4, 2017). "Army Research Lab 3D Prints Mission-Specific Military Drones in 24 Hours". All3DP. Retrieved July 13, 2018.