News showed that a US Navy command now explores the use of blockchain technology for tracking aircraft parts.
NAVAIR (Naval Air Systems Command) offers material support for airborne weapon systems and aircrafts for the US navy. It issued a press release stating that it is investigating how blockchain technology can trace parts through life cycles in a more efficient manner than what is used at the moment and with reduced costs. NAVAIR stated:
Knowing the origin and history of flight-critical aircraft parts is a resource-consuming process that drives up the cost to operate military aircraft.
The current systems used track parts with the use of paper-based processes after they are delivered. Manual database recording is utilized. Research practically had to be started in order to improve the system.
In order to start the research, NAVAIR partnered with ITAMCO (Indiana Technology And Manufacturing Companies). The purpose of the partnership was to use the SIMBA Chain, which is a specific blockchain-as-a-service platform that was developed through working with DARPA. Thanks to the agreement, the US Navy focused on the protocols in the SIMBA Chain responsible for the possibility to “quickly and securely recall large data sets.”
The official aim of the partnership is to create a new conceptual framework that would be used for a secured blockchain supply chain system capable of also offering visibility.
The press release showed that some issues still need to be overcome, mainly the fact that distributed supply chains can increase outside attack vulnerability. This automatically means that cyber-security is really important. According to the navy command:
By bringing the experts together early in the development of possible architectures, the authorities will better understand the risk and reward of a connected distributed system.
According to the team that is working on this research project, the increased traceability and visibility of a potential blockchain system is going to help the NAVAIR to support Navail Air missions by putting an increased emphasis on safety, all at reduced costs.
The system presented now is not the only one that the US Navy is working on. In June it was shown that the innovation arm of the navy has already been working on trialing the potential offered by blockchain technology in order to add security to the used 3D printing systems.