Brian Berletic: West Sends Ukraine 3D Printers to Make Spare Parts, But Won’t Solve Critical Logistics Problems

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Western analysts suggest 3D printing technology can mitigate logistical and maintenance problems for Ukrainian forces by producing spare parts on demand locally rather than depending on a supply chain stretching far beyond Ukraine;

  • Seven advanced 3D printers have been transferred to Ukraine, capable of producing dozens of spare parts a day based on a library of designs for over 40 pieces of equipment including older platforms for which spare parts are no longer manufactured;
  • Despite this capability, it is insufficient for maintaining the amount of equipment required for a conflict of this scale and cannot match Russia’s massive military industrial output, warehouses of spare parts, and Russia’s ability to move all of it to the front line;
  • Western 3D printing technology is not unique. Russia also possesses industrial-scale 3D printers. Instead of using it to print spare parts on the front line, it is instead employing it to engineer advanced capabilities for its most sophisticated weapons;
  • By leveraging 3D printing to plug holes in logistics and maintenance capabilities, Ukraine will be unable to leverage it for much more crucial roles like Russia. The transfer of 3D printing technology to Ukraine in this way represents the West taking one deficiency and transforming it into two;