US Navy Exploring Blockchain To Improve Tracking System

Blockchain, News | September 24, 2018 By:

The Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) is exploring the use of blockchain technolgy in an effort to change the way it tracks the lineage of aviation parts.

Established in 1966 as the successor to the Navy’s Bureau of Naval Weapons, NAVAIR provides material support for aircraft and airborne weapon systems for the US Navy. This support includes research, design, development and systems engineering, acquisition, test and evaluation, training facilities and equipment, repair and modification, and in-service engineering and logistics support.

According to a press release, NAVAIR is exploring the usage of blockchain in order to keep track of aviation parts throughout their life-cycle.

“Knowing the origin and history of flight-critical aircraft parts is a resource-consuming process that drives up the cost to operate military aircraft,” NAVAIR said. “Currently, once parts are delivered to the user, the parts are tracked with pen and paper on a Scheduled Removal Component Card and manually entered into a database.”

NAVAIR’s Fleet Readiness Center Southwest (FRCSW) Advance Technologies Team has partnered with Indiana Technology and Manufacturing Companies (ITAMCO) to use its SIMBA Chain, a software for direct communication between users and big data entities. Started as an initiative by the US military, specifically the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), SIMBA Chain is developed as a blockchain cloud solution for public-private partnerships. The initial intention of the project was to use the platform for secure messaging that would be less vulnerable to hacking attacks.

“The ability to manage large data sets is not inherent to blockchain but these ancillary developments, along with managing life events and custody on a distributed ledger, will be a useful toolset among Navy, Department of Defense (DoD) and external industry partners,” NAVAIR said. “In return for helping the Navy understand how to use these exceptional software tools, ITAMCO will get to understand facets of the Navy and how the supply chain operates. The goal of the agreement is to develop a conceptual architecture for what a connected and visible supply chain could look like. A major hurdle is information assurance and accreditation for a distributed information system, a sizable departure from a centrally controlled database architecture the DoD is currently comfortable operating.”

The reserch team believes the increased visibility and traceability of a blockchain system will help NAVAIR support the Naval Air mission with an increased emphasis on safety and at a reduced cost. According to the release, the Navy is eyeing a permissioned blockchain with a consensus algorithm that requires far less computing power.