The young engineer admits that if his parents ever found out, they would be furious, as he 3D prints drones for the rebel forces in their battle against Myanmar’s military dictatorship.

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The Innovative Engineer Fighting against Myanmar’s Military Regime

In a daring act of defiance, a young engineer has taken matters into his own hands by producing semiautomatic rifles and drones for a rebel group fighting against Myanmar’s oppressive military regime. The engineer, known only as “3D” to protect his identity from arrest and execution, shares his story exclusively with Wired magazine.

The engineer’s involvement in the production of weapons for the Karenni Nationalities Defence Force (KNDF), an insurgent group made up of young civilians, began shortly after the military coup in February 2021. Witnessing the brutal suppression of peaceful protesters by military forces, 3D was compelled to find a way to fight back.

Carrying the weight of secrecy and the risk of severe consequences, 3D embarked on his mission armed with a 3D printer and online-accessible blueprints for the FGC-9, a 3D-printed semiautomatic rifle. With determination and resourcefulness, the engineer successfully manufactured the rifles, providing the KNDF with much-needed firepower.

However, 3D’s innovation did not stop at semiautomatic rifles. Inspired by Ukraine’s “The Punisher,” a cost-effective drone, the engineer began producing low-cost drones with a price tag of approximately $5,000 each. The first model, named the Liberator-MK1, could carry up to 1.5 kg of explosives and was deployed on Myanmar’s front lines.

The significance of these low-budget drones in the context of fighting against a well-equipped military regime cannot be overstated. With the Myanmar military having imported over $1 billion worth of weapons and equipment, rebel groups like the KNDF must find creative and affordable ways to level the playing field.

This reliance on low-cost drones as a viable battle strategy is most exemplified in Ukraine, where Ukrainian forces have deployed plastic foam drones, typically used by photographers and hobbyists, to take down Russian tanks worth millions of dollars. This stark contrast showcases the power of innovation and resourcefulness in asymmetrical warfare.

3D’s unwavering commitment and ingenuity provide a glimmer of hope for those fighting against tyranny and oppression. His ability to adapt and manufacture weapons through 3D printing technology highlights the potential for innovation even in the face of adversity.

While the risk to his own life and the safety of his loved ones looms large, 3D remains resolute in his mission to provide his fellow rebel fighters with the tools they need to defend themselves against a relentless and well-funded military regime.

As the world continues to bear witness to the ongoing crisis in Myanmar, the stories of individuals like 3D serve as a reminder of the power of human tenacity and resilience. It is through these acts of bravery and innovation that true change can take shape, even in the darkest of times.

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