News has emerged that a US Navy team at NAVAIR, the United States Naval Air Systems Command, is collaborating with Indiana Technology and Manufacturing Companies (ITAMCO) to investigate the idea of using its SIMBA blockchain technology for the purpose of tracking aircraft parts.
Despite SIMBA being designed as a platform intended for implementing blockchain technology to messaging in order to help monitor and verify sources of communications, it has also emerged as having a level of usefulness to defense supply chains.
Driving up the cost of operating military aircraft
According to ITAMCO, the process involved in knowing the history and origin of “flight-critical” aircraft parts is one which drives the cost of operating military aircraft up.
At present, the system for tracking the lineage of US Navy aircraft parts involves pen and paper on what is known as a Scheduled Removal Component Card as well as manual entry into a database.
The hope is that a permissioned blockchain system would help streamline the operation and save the US Navy a considerable amount of expenditure.
Cyber-security is a hurdle that must be overcome
The primary aim of the agreement is to attempt to develop a “conceptual architecture” for what a visible supply chain could look like.
One hurdle that will have to be overcome if such a system were to be put into place is cyber-security, which is a concern due to the nodes that support a supply chain becoming connected and increasing vulnerability, according to the press release issued by ITAMCO.
Situated on the the Coronado Naval Air Station in San Diego, California, the Fleet Readiness Centre Southwest (FRCSW) is looking to position itself as industry leaders in aviation supply chains, and is convinced that increased traceability and visibility will provide NAVAIR with the support it needs to provide an increased emphasis on safety and cost-efficiency.
George Blackwood, Logistics Management Specialist F/A-18A-E & EA-18G ISSC North Island Fleet Support Team, commented that “the Navy is very excited to work with ITAMCO on this cutting-edge technology to improve visibility, anti-tampering, traceability and data transparency in the NAVAIR supply chain.”
The US Navy already operates a trusted network, so the permissioned chain will be a consensus mechanism that requires far less computing power than a public blockchain.
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