“Rapid Additively Manufactured Ballistics Ordnance,” or R.A.M.B.O. for short, is the rad name for the U.S. Army’s new 3D-printed grenade launcher. And yes, it fires 3D-printed grenades! Popular Mechanics reports that the modified M203 grenade gun with pistol grip is made of 50 parts that can all be emailed and churned out on a 3D printer (except for the springs and fasteners) in roughly 35 hours.
And yes, the U.S. Army has successfully fired this bad boy.
R.A.M.B.O. consists of 50 individual parts, and all of them can be made by 3D printing, a process whereby “high-powered precision lasers heat particles of powder below their melting point, essentially welding the fine metal powder layer by layer until a finished object is formed.” So you can basically download this weapon anywhere in the world as fast as the new Future album. How crazy is that?
The U.S. Army’s Acquisition Support Center describes the new emailable weapon “a tangible testament to the utility and maturation of additive manufacturing. It epitomizes a new era of rapidly developed, testable prototypes that will accelerate the rate at which researchers’ advancements are incorporated into fieldable weapons that further enable our warfighters.” Enable them to rain these puppies down on somebody’s head.
In short, 3D Printing grenade launchers means less cost, more boom. In other words, be afraid. Because it’s not like foreign agents can hack into official government email accounts or anything.
3D-printed weapons have been a thing for a while now. So much so that some cyber-activists have taken to spamming the internet with fake download links just to make things slightly more difficult for mayhem-minded downloaders. But if a 3D-printable grenade launcher file ever falls into the wrong hands? That’s a job for John Rambo.