The SPEE3D Metal 3D Printers have been purchased by the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force.

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SPEE3D, an Australian original equipment manufacturer (OEM) that specializes in cold spray additive manufacturing (CSAM) platforms, has secured a contract from the Japanese Ministry of Defense. Under the agreement, SPEE3D will supply both WarpSPEE3D and XSPEE3D printers to the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF). This comes as part of SPEE3D’s ongoing efforts to expand its presence in the global defense sector.

CSAM technology is highly suited for on-the-spot repairs, making it increasingly sought after by defense organizations worldwide. By utilizing compressed air to spray metal powders onto a substrate, CSAM offers a cost-effective and efficient solution for producing parts quickly. SPEE3D has capitalized on this simplicity and speed by developing a rugged and deployable platform. For example, the XSPEE3D is a containerized system that was developed with assistance from the Australian Army.

In a press release, Byron Kennedy, the CEO of SPEE3D, expressed gratitude for the opportunity to expand in Japan and the broader Asia-Pacific region. Kennedy also emphasized the company’s commitment to supporting the Japanese military by providing training and assistance in using the XSPEE3D printer to address their urgent supply chain needs.

SPEE3D’s success can be understood within the context of the trilateral partnership between the US, UK, and Australia (AUKUS) established in 2021. While not part of AUKUS, Japan is a participant in the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QSD), a defense partnership between the US, India, Australia, and Japan. It is worth noting that the UK parliament’s foreign affairs select committee recently recommended inviting Japan and South Korea to join AUKUS.

This development aligns with Japan’s plans to double its defense spending over the next five years, marking a significant shift in its traditionally limited military engagement. Tensions with China have been cited as the primary motivation behind this increased military investment. However, defense spending has historically served as a source of fiscal stimulus in industrialized nations, suggesting that such expenditures would likely occur regardless of specific justifications.

Nevertheless, the current focus on expanding defense capabilities indicates a strategic objective of diversifying supply chains away from China’s Belt and Road initiative. In this context, increased trade between Australia and India is expected to gain importance for nations like the US and Japan. While QSD and AUKUS may not formally merge, parallels between their trajectories are already apparent, as evidenced by SPEE3D’s activity in Japan.

Looking ahead, it would not be surprising if SPEE3D announces further expansion into the Indian market. As the 3D printing industry continues to evolve, staying informed about the latest developments and receiving updates from third-party vendors remains essential.

(Image credits: SPEE3D)

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