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VIDEO: Jets with ‘printed parts’ fly on the Fylde

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Test flights of the RAF Tornado fighter jet have been carried out on the Fylde coast with parts made using 3D printing technology for the first time.

The metal components were used in test flights from BAE Systems’ airfield at Warton, at the end of December.

The parts include protective covers for cockpit radios and guards for power take-off shafts.

It is hoped the technology could reduce the RAF’s maintenance and service bill by more than £1.2m over the next four years.

BAE engineers are producing the parts for four squadrons of Tornado GR4 aircraft at RAF Marham in Norfolk – with some parts costing less than £100.

3D printing - which has been hailed as the future of manufacturing - works by building up layer upon layer of material to build complex solid objects.

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