Boeing, General Dynamics, Corvid & BAE Systems team, and Virginia Tech & John Deere team to develop first parts that will be built on world’s largest metal 3d printer

July 11, 2023. Bethesda, MD – The Applied Science & Technology Research Organization of America (ASTRO America) is pleased to announce the winners of its first major subaward of its Other Transaction Agreement (OTA) to develop additive and advanced manufacturing technologies for the U.S. Army. Four teams – Boeing, General Dynamics, Corvid & BAE Systems team, and Virginia Tech & John Deere team – will receive awards totaling over $1.5m. They will be the first to demonstrate the effectiveness of the world’s largest metal 3d printer in developing parts useful to their supply chains.

“We are proud to partner with these iconic companies as we support the U.S. Army in its efforts to innovate in weapon system design and production flexibility,” said Jason Gorey, Executive Director of ASTRO America. “Each company is known for its leadership in additive manufacturing and role in supplying key Defense Industrial Base platforms. This perspective incited innovative ideas that we look forward to exploring with our team in Rock Island.”

Sub-awardees will bring critical insights into the value proposition for the new large scale 3D printer, including ways it should drive down weapon systems’ cost and delivery time, and support the warfighter at the best value to the taxpayer.

“Virginia Tech is very glad to contribute to the world’s largest metal 3D printer development,” said Hang Yu, Associate Professor, Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Virginia Tech. “By leveraging our expertise in process fundamentals of additive friction stir deposition and John Deere’s expertise in component design and qualification, our team hopes to accelerate the widespread adoption of large-scale metal additive manufacturing for various industrial sectors.”

Last Summer, the U.S. Army entered into an OTA with ASTRO America with the goal of modernizing manufacturing processes. Under the OTA, ASTRO will leverage the world’s largest 3D Printer located at the Rock Island Arsenal to build prototype models based on material and process application and exploration, capability modeling, development, and implementation of Additive Manufacturing (AM) and Advanced Manufacturing (AdvM) specific to the development of large-scale components.

To kick off the first phase of the OTA, ASTRO America held an Industry Day event to connect with developers of ground vehicle systems interested in using large-scale metal additive technology and issued an RFI titled, “Advancement of Component Designs for Large-Scale Additive Manufacturing RFI Response.”

“There was strong participation in our Industry Day event across the U.S. defense and automotive supply chains, and we were pleased to receive many thoughtful responses to the RFI we discussed with,” Gorey said. “We are excited to get started and also to announce new workshops and funding opportunities as we move forward.”

Each awardee will submit an Initial Part Summary of 1 – 5 components that they propose to have fabricated on a large format additive friction stir deposition system. ASTRO America, in coordination with Army GVSC, will select one of the components for further development to a final digital design that will be printed on the world’s largest 3d metal printer, which was moved to Rock Island in Q2 of 2023.

In addition, awardees will contribute to the following:

  • a Business Case and Plan Report for the selected component;

  • a Technology Qualification Report for the large scale machine that will address specific issues and requirements related to qualifying the large scale machine and parts that it produces; and

  • a Technology Insertion Report for the large scale machine that will address pathways to incorporate large scale metal additive production, specifically the friction stir welding machine at Rock Island, into the Army and larger DoD supply chains.

ASTRO America will continue to announce workshops, industry days, and funding opportunities available through the ASTRO OTA as information becomes available.

For more information on the ASTRO OTA, click here.

For more information on Project Order 01, click here.


The Applied Science and Technology Research Organization of America (ASTRO America) is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit, non-partisan Research Institute and Think Tank. It was established in 2018 to advance the public interest through manufacturing technology and policy. Led by manufacturing professionals with broad public and private sector experience, ASTRO America supports collaborations by government agencies and companies to address supply chain challenges in highly regulated industries, including aerospace and defense.

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This effort was sponsored by the U.S. Government under Other Transaction Agreement number W56HZV-22-9-D001 with ASTRO. The U.S. Government is authorized to reproduce and distribute reprints for Governmental purposes notwithstanding any copyright notation herein.

The views and conclusions contained herein are those of the authors and should not be interpreted as necessarily representing the official policies or endorsements, either expressed or implied, of the U.S. Government.