Navatek and UMaine win $5M Navy contract for research into additive manufacturing for Navy vessels

The Office of Naval Research (ONR) has awarded Navatek LLC and the University of Maine’s Advanced Structures and Composites Center (ASCC) a $5 million contract to research materials and novel manufacturing tools and methods to improve the design and construction of Navy and Marine Corps vessels; maximizing the speed, range, payload and survivability for Naval missions, while lowering cost and build time.

This research will explore opportunities to apply additive manufacturing (i.e., 3D printing) to surface vessel design and construction. The research will develop tools and techniques that will enable engineers to increase trust in additively manufactured structures, evaluate new materials, produce more complex structures, improve throughput, and reduce cost. The work will culminate in applying these technologies and tools to design USVs using a modular approach to vessel structural design.

“The Navy’s decision to fund cutting-edge research in Maine is a testament to our state’s extremely talented shipbuilders, engineers and academic institutions,” said U.S. Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King, and Reps. Chellie Pingree and Jared Golden. “This investment will support the extraordinary research being done by the University of Maine’s faculty and staff along with their partner, Navatek, to improve naval technology and better protect our sailors, while also creating good-paying jobs. We are proud that this work to strengthen our national security will be conducted right here in the state of Maine.”

Navatek is continuing its partnership with UMaine’s  Advanced Structures and Composites Center; a worldwide leader in composites and additive manufacturing technology. The University of Maine will design, evaluate, fabricate, and test composite materials and structures for this project.

“Our collaboration with Navatek is what attracted them to opening offices in Maine. We look forward to continuing our partnership with Navatek and the ONR, creating transformative knowledge in advanced manufacturing for the Navy and transferring that knowledge into high-paying, Maine-based jobs,” said Habib Dagher, ASCC executive director. “Our research, advanced manufacturing and testing will help open the design space for 3D printed parts and frameless additive manufacturing to be applied to new vessels for the Navy. This project is a result of UMaine’s work last year where we commissioned the largest polymer 3D printer in the world at UMaine-ASCC and 3D printed a 25-foot-long, 5,000-pound patrol vessel.”

“Navatek is proud to work with the University of Maine in support of the Navy and Marine Corps’s goal of fielding unmanned surface vessels or USVs,” said Martin Kao, Navatek CEO. “Along with our office in Portland, Navatek recently opened a second office in Bangor, which is collocated with the University of Maine to increase collaboration. We are expanding our presence in the state to 80 engineers and scientists in our Bangor and Portland offices over the course of these programs, with room to grow to over 120 in our new facilities, expected in 2021.”

Contact: Meghan Collins,; 207.852.8414