A substantial portion of the Department of Defense (DoD) budget is spent on training personnel to maintain highly complex electromechanical systems, often in austere environments where long logistical supply chains challenge the ability to obtain spare parts in a timely manner. Today’s DoD deploys some machine shops and other fabrication capabilities in-theater, but these facilities provide only a small fraction of needed components. This is largely due to limited access to the adaptive manufacturing technology and comprehensive design expertise necessary for in-theater manufacturing.
DARPA’s Manufacturing Experimentation and Outreach Two (MENTOR2) program seeks to enhance defense readiness by improving both the training and the tools available to those who will be called on to utilize, maintain, and adapt high-technology systems in low-technology environments. MENTOR2 will pursue this goal by developing and demonstrating new training tools, new materials, and new manufacturing technologies in the fields of electromechanical design and manufacturing. It is envisioned that project based curricula employing MENTOR2 design and prototyping tools will teach a deeper understanding of high-technology systems and better enable future competence in the maintenance and adaptation of such systems through the manufacture of as-designed components or the design and manufacture of new components.
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