In recent years, blockchain technology has been featured as one of the key emerging technologies to watch for. The technology potential to offer users a complete, time-stamped record of transactions and processes within it, is too great to ignore which is why new real-world use cases for blockchain continue to emerge.
A new blockchain venture was unveiled this week when major consultancy firm Accenture and French aerospace and defense systems provider Thales, demoed a blockchain-based solution designed to secure and improve efficiency of aerospace and defense supply chains. The prototype was presented at the Farnborough Air Show in England earlier this week, according to a press release.
Thales blockchain prototype, which is based on the Hyperledger Fabric, provides the ability to verify the authenticity of parts and supplies from the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) to the end across the globe. Additionally, the blockchain solution can be used in conjunction with other emerging technologies such as digital twins and digital thread concepts of an existing physical asset, allowing for information to flow through the value chain from OEM to suppliers, partners, and operators. This holds many advantages especially to other supply chain specific blockchain platforms that are currently in development.
The new system is developed using a combination of blockchain and Internet of Things technologies including Thales ‘digital fingerprint’ technology for silicon chips, physically unclonable function, that assigns microprocessors a unique identity during the manufacturing process and cryptoseals which are Near Field Communication (NFC) devices that also have unique identify information and collect data points that are pushed to the blockchain. Using these technologies, the system is able to streamline and secure aircraft supply chain to track, trace and authenticate critical aircraft parts and materials, therefore eliminating problems of counterfeit components.
Thales UK Vice President for Secure Communication and Information Systems commented:
“Using blockchain in combination with cryptoseals and physically unclonable functions allows you to build a trusted history behind parts.”
In a research report published by Accenture last month, 86% of aerospace and defense companies expect to integrate blockchain technology into their systems by 2021.
“Blockchain technology offers a new, elegant and secure way for the industry to track and trace myriad components while deterring counterfeiting and improving maintenance capabilities,” said John Schmidt, global managing director for Accenture’s Aerospace and Defense practice.
Accenture’s system is similar to the ones developed by Maersk and FedEx; all are designed to provide transparency to all participants in the supply chain, as well as creating an immutable record of all transactions in the supply chain.