Non-profit organization ASTRO America will manage staging and deployment of additive manufacturing capability. Effort aims to diversify Guam’s economy and support Indo-Pacific submarine industrial base needs.

RADM Scott Pappano and Governor Lourdes A. Leon Guerrero
RADM Scott Pappano and Governor Lourdes A. Leon Guerrero
The Applied Science & Technology Research Organization of America (ASTRO America)

The Applied Science & Technology Research Organization of America (ASTRO America) joined Governor Lourdes A. Leon Guerrero of Guam, and U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Scott Pappano, Program Executive Officer, Strategic Submarines (PEO SSBN) at a joint meeting last week, where they announced a project plan for building an additive manufacturing (AM) technology and workforce education center on Guam.

This project is the culmination of efforts, spearheaded by the Governor over two years ago, to bring industrial additive manufacturing (or 3D Printing) to the island in order to diversify and expand Guam’s economy. She and her administration commissioned a study by ASTRO America, a manufacturing policy think-tank, to evaluate the feasibility of bringing such technology to Guam. A strong advocate for modernizing submarine production and addressing material readiness challenges through advanced technology, Rear Adm. Pappano and his team became natural partners, especially as they implement and scale innovative solutions to modernize America’s submarine industrial base.

The new center is envisioned to serve a dual mission of:
(1) Advancing national security by giving the submarine industrial base abilities to print components on-demand at the point-of-need.

(2) Supporting economic development in Guam, forming a workforce skilled in key science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) careers, while also building out a new industry sector on-island, capable of delivering complex ship components.

“Our announcement marks an historic inflection point for both the Government of Guam and the United States Submarine Industrial Base,” says ASTRO America President Neal Orringer (former Department of Defense Director of Manufacturing). “Working together, we will build an innovative and resilient technology base. Not only will we train a new generation of advanced manufacturing engineers, and operators but we will ensure the Navy’s access to critical capabilities for prototyping, producing, and validating key parts, components, and materials through advanced manufacturing and 3D printing capability.”

The project plan discussed by Governor Leon Guerrero and Rear Adm. Pappano involves three key phases to develop and sustain submarine industrial base capabilities in the Indo-Pacific.

PHASE 0: Structure and business plan
This phase, announced earlier this year, includes designing an advanced manufacturing technology and education center on Guam, with plans to procure, position, and operate industrial equipment on the island. A satellite campus at the University of Guam will be comprised of several partners that are mainland U.S.-based universities with leading industrial manufacturing higher education programs. This concept will include strategies for the campus’ long-term training, operation, and sustainment. Additionally, details for building capabilities on-site for part-production and test/evaluation will be developed, in concert with leading submarine industrial base and government officials to ensure supply can meet demand in Guam.

PHASE 1: Staging and transition
Based on the plans and concepts established in Phase 0, while the Government of Guam is constructing a permanent facility, the team will procure equipment and position technology appropriately within shipping container modules to establish initial capability, and determine optimal factory equipment and large-scale testing configuration for qualification of advanced shipbuilding tools and components. The campus will be operational, enrolling students with appropriate support staff and technology integration. Additionally, use-cases will demonstrate effectiveness of the team’s short- and long-term approach to part prototyping and validation.

PHASE 2: Deployment and operational launch
In the next stage, modules with 3D production and advanced inspection equipment will be positioned and transitioned for implementation on Guam. Coursework will be underway for students in Guam for on-island credentialed higher education, as well as prototyping and testing/evaluation of naval ship production parts to support the submarine supply chain.

Each of these phases will be carried out in close coordination with and direction from another leading defense nonprofit organization, BlueForge Alliance (BFA), which serves as system integrator for the submarine industrial base’s broad-based initiatives across every region of the United States.

At the meeting, Governor Leon Guerrero and Rear Adm. Pappano affirmed their joint commitment to this project plan, including support from the Guam Economic Development Authority and University of Guam in establishing a facility and investments by BFA on behalf of the Navy to advance common goals, including enabling the future tri-lateral AUKUS partnership. The project’s success will be measured by the team’s efforts to catalyze growth of a specialized advanced manufacturing workforce, as well as necessary capabilities to produce parts that will meet growing national security needs for the submarine industrial base.

Read the entire piece here.