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The SULSA 3D-printed UAS was recovered after a successful flight in the Antarctic.

The SULSA 3D-printed UAS was recovered after a successful flight in the Antarctic.

A 3D-printed UAS built by the University of Southampton is helping the British Royal Navy’s ice-patrol ship HMS Protector navigate through Antarctic seas.

The Southampton University Laser-Sintered Aircraft (SULSA), the world’s first “printed” airplane, is made of nylon, printed in four major parts and assembled without the use of any tools.

The fixed-wing aircraft, along with another quadcopter UAS, provide the icebreaker with a real-time high-quality picture of the surrounding environment from a perspective only available from the air.

“This trial of these low-cost but highly versatile aircraft has been an important first step in establishing the utility of unmanned aerial vehicles in this region,” said Captain Rory Bryan, Protector’s Commanding Officer.

 

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