Singapore’s Defence Science and Technology Agency (DSTA) has entered a digital technology collaboration with Airbus to jointly develop 3D-printed spare parts for the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) aircraft.

The co-development of the spare parts will be carried out under an implementation agreement signed between the two organisations at the Farnborough Airshow in the UK.

Under the terms of the agreement, Airbus Defence and Space will support DSTA in designing and certifying the 3D-printed spare parts for the RSAF aircraft fleet.

The parts produced by additive manufacturing will initially be tested on the Singapore Air Force’s new fleet of A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport (A330 MRTT) aircraft.

Airbus Defence and Space Military Aircraft Services head Stephan Miegel said: “It is absolutely clear that digitalisation represents the future of military aircraft services and we are now at a point where we can begin to explore the most promising techniques on operational fleets.

“We greatly appreciate the innovative approach of DSTA in going on this journey with us.

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“Following this first agreement on 3D-printing, we have further agreed to collaborate on data analytics for predictive maintenance.

“The collaboration will add on to the development of Airbus’s new SmartForce suite of maintenance data analytics launched at Farnborough.”

“The collaboration will add on to the development of Airbus’s new SmartForce suite of maintenance data analytics launched at Farnborough.”

Airbus’s SmartForce is a suite of services that allows operators to exploit aircraft data to improve troubleshooting, optimise maintenance effort, predict maintenance actions and plan smartly for material demand.

The first A330 MRTT aircraft is expected to be delivered to the Singapore Air Force in the coming months.

With multi-role capabilities, the new-generation A330 MRTT tanker can carry up to 111t of fuel and has a maximum payload capacity of up to 45t.