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Military 3D Printing Market

Military 3D Printing Market Size, Share, Competitive Landscape and Trend Analysis Report, by Component, by Application, by End-Use : Global Opportunity Analysis and Industry Forecast, 2022-2031

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Author's: Gunjan Malani | Lalit Janardhan Katare
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The global military 3d printing market size was valued at $0.88 billion in 2021, and is projected to reach $7.5 billion by 2031, growing at a CAGR of 24.8% from 2022 to 2031.

3D printing, referred as additive manufacturing, comprises printing a part layer by layer from a 3D CAD model. 3D printing aids in reduction of lead time as well as cost for prototyping and manufacturing complex parts. No special tools such as cutting tool or molds are required for printing process. The materials utilized for 3D printing comprises of several types of polymers, metals, ceramics, and others. The selection of printing material depends on traits expected from printed object. Certain 3D printers utilizes several materials simultaneously according to requirements, thereby making manufacturing process easier. At present, the defense industry has adopted the 3D printing technology to simplify the process of manufacturing of parts and components, as well as weapons and equipment.

Military 3D Printing Market

3D printing encompasses a wide range of material to produce 3D object or part. These materials have their own unique features, strengths and weakness. Moreover, factors such as material type, texture, cost and others are required to be considered to avoid any error in 3D printing. A range of raw materials such as titanium, aluminum, and steel are used as raw materials in 3D printing operations. These materials are primarily in granular form and are widely used in aviation and defense vertical.  

The growth of the global military 3D printing market is propelling, due to surge in military application, increase in investments by armed forces into technology, and rise in adoption of lightweight components. However, complex design of both hardware & software and lack of standardization in process are the factors that hamper the growth of the market. Furthermore, technological advancements is the factor expected to offer growth opportunities during the forecast period.

The military 3D printing market is segmented on the basis of component, application, end-use, and region. By component, it is fragmented into technology, materials, and services. By application, it is classified into tooling, jigs & fixtures, prototyping, end-use parts, and others. By end-use, it is categorized into army, navy, and airforce. By region, the report is analyzed across North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and LAMEA.

Military 3D Printing Market
By Component
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Technology is projected as the most lucrative segment

North America comprises U.S., Canada, and Mexico. The U.S. military has been inclined towards the usage of military 3D printing technique to develop weapons with greater efficiency and shorter development time. This increased inclination towards advanced technology supplements the growth of the market across the country. In addition, several companies are receiving contract from defense organizations to develop safety equipment and advanced weapons, which contribute to the growth of the market. For instance, in 2021, Rice University received a $1.3 million contract from the Office of Naval Research through the Defense Research University Instrumentation Program to develop world’s first printable military “smart helmet” using industrial-grade 3D printers.  In 2019, 3D Systems received a $15 million contract from Combat Capabilities Development Command Army Research Laboratory (ARL) to develop next generation of metal 3D printer. This contract is expected to advance the U.S. competitiveness and national security.

The Canada military 3D printing market is in the growth phase, and is majorly driven by research institutes, and educational bodies. Educational collaboration to increase awareness about the technology and acquisition of initial level printers to understand technologies is among the primary initiatives practiced by the country. For instance, in January 2021, the University of Waterloo teamed up with National Research Council of Canada (NRC) with a focus to capitalize on the potential of metal 3D printing technologies.

Europe includes Germany, UK, France, Italy, and rest of Europe. Europe is anticipated to witness a notable growth rate for military 3D printing market during the forecast timeframe, due to the efforts taken by regional government to increase self-reliance. Increased military spending towards the development of defense sector across European countries creates ample opportunities for the growth of military 3D printing market across Europe. In addition, the presence of key companies such as ABB, Höganäs AB, Materialise and others which are inclined towards developing military 3D printing system creates an increased demand for the system, thus leading to the growth of the market across the region.

The French government announced $52.7 billion of the defense budget for the financial year 2020, a 2.9% rise from the defense budget in the financial year 2019. Rise in French defense spending and presence of Défense Conseil International (DCI) in France, which specializes in training land forces, navy, air force, or Joint Services is expected to promote adoption of military 3D weapons by the French defense forces. In addition, French army has started to adopt 3D printers for manufacturing spare parts. For instance, in 2019, French Army installed two Prodway P1000 3D printers into its operations for manufacturing spare parts. Such developments are expected to propel growth of the market in the country during the forecast period.

Military 3D Printing Market
By Application
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End-use parts is projected as the most lucrative segment

The government of UK is focused on development and implementation of advanced warfare technologies to protect from adversary threats. Presence of some of the largest additive manufacturing companies such as Stratasys Limited, Renishaw PLC, and Materialise NV within the country has generated an opportunistic business scenario. These companies are actively leveraging their 3D printing capabilities to develop complex military structures while ensuring to meet designated quality standards. The primary goal of these organizations is to reduce part manufacturing cost with low cycles along with minimizing the prototyping cost.

Some leading companies profiled in the military 3D printing market report comprises 3D Systems, Inc., Autodesk Inc., Dassault Systems, ExOne, Fracktal Works Private Limited, General Electric, Markforged, Materialise, Optomec, Inc., Proto Labs, Stratasys, and Ultimaker BV. The companies operating in the market are adopting several strategies such as product launch, partnerships, and acquisitions to strengthen market position. In February 2021, ExOne developed a portable 3D printing factory in a shipping container for the Department of Defense. To accelerate development of the rugged 3D printing pod, ExOneis expected to collaborate on the project with several partners who have unique engineering expertise.

Surge in military application

The military & defense organizations of various nations have been developing advanced printing technologies to assist soldiers in various combat missions and operations. This has increased the performance of military weapons such as guns, machinery, tanks, and trucks, which in turn is expected to boost demand for 3D printers in the defense sector. Countries such as the U.S., China, Russia, Japan, South Korea, France and the UK have the strongest military in the world, hence emerging with continuous technological advancements in military weapons to be future-ready and secure.

Increase in investments by armed forces into technology

Governments of countries such as Russia, the U.S., China, and India have increased investment on armed forces to establish dominance on the battlefield. According to Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), total global military expenditure rose to $1981 billion in 2020, an increase of 2.6 percent from 2019. Owing to rise in terrorist activities & civil activities in several regions across the globe and surge in international conflicts, countries enhance their military strengths through advancements in technologies. Such factors increase the demand for adoption of the 3D printing technologies in armed forces. In addition, governments of various countries significantly spend on military modernization programs to bolster infrastructure and posture for continued dominance into the future.

Military 3D Printing Market
By End-use
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Airforce is projected as the most lucrative segment

For instance, in 2019, Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center (ARDEC) of the U.S. Army acquired a Rize One 3D printer, for the on-demand manufacturing of spare parts and tools using 3D printing technology. Such efforts by the governments & armed forces, to integrate the advanced 3D printing technology for manufacturing parts and components propels the growth of the military 3D printing market during the forecast period.

Rise in adoption of lightweight components

The armed forces across the world are increasingly acquiring equipment with greater performance, light weight, and higher efficiency, which is likely to assist in gaining an upper hand. Moreover, constant advancements & implementation of new optimization & simulated software capabilities, enable a range of materials to be programmed to offer light weight. The new material could vary from customized textile composites, carbon, fiber, wood grain, and others.

It also minimizes failure-prone mechanisms and decreases the total weight, owing to which its adoption is expected to increase over the coming years. Thus, high demand for lightweight parts along with reduction in manufacturing cost of military equipment is expected to drive the military 3D printing market growth.

Lack of standardization in process

Several R&D projects specific to 3D printing are underway in industries, such as healthcare, electronics, automotive, aerospace & defense, consumer appliances (fashion and consumer durables), textile, construction, and industrial machinery. Despite being a novel technology, 3D printing technology needs to overcome several technological hurdles prior to owing to lack of potential opportunities, which are acknowledged by several experts in the field. Moreover, the market for 3D printing is at nascent stage owing to lack of R&D activities, lack of multi-material printers, lack of low-cost printers & smart materials, slow print times, and the limited reliability of printed objects in the long run. Thus, material availability limitations & lack of standardization process hinders the use of 3D printing technology in military applications.

Military 3D Printing Market
By Region
North America 

Asia-Pacific would exhibit the highest CAGR of 26.1% during 2022-2031

The military 3d printing market is segmented into Component, Application and End-Use.

Key Benefits For Stakeholders

  • This report provides a quantitative analysis of the market segments, current trends, estimations, and dynamics of the military 3d printing market analysis from 2021 to 2031 to identify the prevailing military 3d printing market opportunities.
  • The market research is offered along with information related to key drivers, restraints, and opportunities.
  • Porter's five forces analysis highlights the potency of buyers and suppliers to enable stakeholders make profit-oriented business decisions and strengthen their supplier-buyer network.
  • In-depth analysis of the military 3d printing market segmentation assists to determine the prevailing market opportunities.
  • Major countries in each region are mapped according to their revenue contribution to the global market.
  • Market player positioning facilitates benchmarking and provides a clear understanding of the present position of the market players.
  • The report includes the analysis of the regional as well as global military 3d printing market trends, key players, market segments, application areas, and market growth strategies.

Military 3D Printing Market Report Highlights

Aspects Details
Market Size By 2031

USD 7.5 billion

Growth Rate

CAGR of 24.8%

Forecast period

2021 - 2031

Report Pages


By Component
  • Technology
  • Material
  • Services
By Application
  • Tooling, jigs and fixtures
  • Prototyping
  • End-use parts
  • Others
By End-Use
  • Army
  • Navy
  • Airforce
By Region
  • North America  (U.S., Canada, Mexico)
  • Europe  (Germany, UK, France, Italy, Rest Of Europe)
  • Asia-Pacific  (China, Japan, India, South Korea, Rest Of Asia-Pacific)
  • LAMEA  (Latin America, Middle East, Africa)
Key Market Players

Dassault Systems, Ultimaker BV, ExOne, Fracktal Works Private Limited, General Electric, Materialise, 3D Systems Inc., Stratasys, Ltd., Markforged, Proto Labs, Inc., Autodesk Inc, Optomec, Inc

Analyst Review

The military 3D printing market is expected to witness significant growth, owing to surge in military application, increase in investments by armed forces into technology, and technological advancements.

The technological advancements in 3D printing such as fused deposition modeling, electron beam melting, and portable 3D printing system are resulting in the adoption of 3D printing technologies in the defense sector. Currently, researchers use direct inkjet cure, fused deposition modeling, stereolithography, laser-assisted bioprinting, and selective laser melting methods for 3D printing. For instance, the U.S. Air Force is using 3D & 4D printed parts on C-5 Galaxy transport jets. The parts are used in various parts of the cabin and crew bunk areas of the plane, which include overhead panels, reading and emergency light covers, window reveals, and gasper panels.

The U.S. Air Force plans to add 20 additional components on the aircraft, made from polymers and high-end metals, such as titanium. In addition, additive manufacturing can enhance the maintenance of military systems by producing spare or obsolete parts. Such innovation & development in 3D printing technology create lucrative opportunity in the defense sector in the forecast period.

Among the analyzed regions, North America is the highest revenue contributor followed by Europe, Asia-Pacific, and LAMEA. North America is expected to maintain the lead during the forecast period in terms of market share, whereas Asia-Pacific is expected to witness the highest CAGR during the forecast period.

Author Name(s) : Gunjan Malani | Lalit Janardhan Katare
Frequently Asked Questions?

The global military 3D printing market was valued at $887.8 million in 2021 and is projected to reach $7,534.6 million in 2031, registering a CAGR of 24.8%.

The leading application is prototyping.

The largest regional market is North America.

Some leading companies include 3D Systems, Inc., Autodesk Inc., Dassault Systems, ExOne, Fracktal Works Private Limited, General Electric, Markforged, Materialise, Optomec, Inc., Proto Labs, Stratasys, and Ultimaker BV.

The upcoming trends include greater use in production of end-use parts and advancements in materials.

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Military 3D Printing Market

Global Opportunity Analysis and Industry Forecast, 2022-2031