Blockchain for aviation holds many possibilities for applications, which is why the technology has captured the imagination of leading airline companies, and now the U.S Navy. Known for being on the frontline when it comes to finding use cases for new technology, the U.S military is keeping in line with this tradition by exploring the potential of blockchain in tracking the life cycle of aircraft parts.
According to a press release, the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) is researching ways distributed ledger technology can be implemented to trace aviation parts more effectively than the current tracking system which basically involves manually recording the information about aircraft parts and store the tracking details on a centralized database. To achieve this goal, NAVAIR’s Fleet Readiness Center Southwest has joined forces with the Indiana Technology and Manufacturing Companies (ITAMCO) to use its Simba Chain to research whether blockchain can process the large data sets produced by the Navy. Simba Chain is a blockchain-as-a-service platform built in collaboration with Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to enable “tracking of secure messages”.
The purpose of this project is to improve the tracking system of aviation parts by leveraging blockchain to help NAVAIR support the Naval Air mission while increasing the emphasis on safety and reducing costs.
US Navy Blockchain
The Navy is eyeing a permissioned blockchain with a consensus mechanism that requires less computing power than existing proof-of-work systems. A permissioned blockchain is one that makes it possible to specify who can join a particular network. It also allows participants on the blockchain to see only what they’ve been given rights to access. The Navy blockchain infrastructure would allow the military branch to capture aircraft data and use code to embed logic into smart contracts for automatic logistics management and tracking. The ability to manage the aircraft part life events and to provide custody details on a distributed ledger will be useful for the Navy, the Department of Defense and other industry players. In addition, a blockchain implementation will enable the Navy to cut down operational costs and save considerably on resource-consumption.
Through the partnership with ITAMCO, the Navy hopes to develop a conceptual framework for a blockchain supply chain that offers visibility and security. That security is of great concern to the Navy since a distributed supply chain is vulnerable to threats of cyber hacks and malware attacks. The Navy believes that by bringing on board all the parties early in the planning stage, they can assess the risks and develop a more secure blockchain framework.