Marines’ 3D-Printed ‘Nibbler’ Drone Creating Lessons Learned on Logistics, Counter-UAS

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November 20, 2017 | Originally published by Date Line: November 20 on

Marines who recently completed a deployment to U.S. Central Command in support of Operation Inherent Resolve brought with them 3D printers to make their own small quadcopters, learning lessons both on hybrid logistics models and counter-unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) operations.

Marines built an initial batch of 25 Nibbler UAVs – quadcopters with a dwell time of about 20 to 25 minutes, which can carry cameras or other intelligence payloads and cost about $2,000 apiece to print – and then followed up by making a couple additional vehicles and other various tools and components as needed.

Attempting this additive manufacturing at a tactical level was part of an “advancing the force” mission assigned to the SP-MAGTF, to push the Marine Corps closer to its vision laid out in last year’s Marine Corps Operating Concept.