The Naval Air Systems Command is looking into the adoption of blockchain in order to track aviation parts from the time they are created to wherever they are deployed. The organization’s Fleet Readiness Center Southwest (FRCSW) Advance Technologies Team has now formed partnership with Indiana Technology and Manufacturing Companies (ITAMCO) to research the technology and develop a blockchain based platform to maintain colossal data sets. The goal of this partnership is to merely compose an architecture of a decentralized system to determine what kind of functionality a DLT could potentially support and bring advancement to a centrally controlled database system that is manually updated.
The Navy has a preexisting network so the model it proposes will be a permissioned chain with a proof of work consensus mechanism that would consume considerably less computing power and would maintain the integrity of a distributed ledger. ITAMCO, which has previously developed SIMBA Chain, a product of an Army lead DARPA project for keeping track of secure messages using blockchain, will play an essential role in not only developing a innovative platform well suited to the needs of the Navy as well as including the services of its research partner Notre Dame’s Center for Research Computing.
Every part of an aircraft that is ever manufactured needs to be tracked throughout its lifecycle. Keeping and maintaining records about its manufacturing can entail a huge cost and requires a ton of resources to be efficiently logged in a centralized database. The research that has been initiated aims to move the operations of Naval Aviation Enterprise to a decentralized blockchain that could provide transparency, increased visibility and traceability. Furthermore it could also reduce cost by a significant factor. George Blackwood, Logistics Management Specialist of the North Island Fleet Support Team said,
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.
Challenges Faced in the Event of Migration to Decentralised System
The information consolidation and security is a big concern when it comes to military organizations. In a conventional blockchain based system where all nodes or users are connected, the information about the supply chain can become vulnerable. The threat of cyber attacks looms over such technology that is still in its infancy. In order to ensure that the platform is indeed a secure one, a number of experienced professionals are being recruited to develop an architecture so as to weigh both, the pros and the cons of a distributed Ledger.
With the inception of Research that aspires to shift the Naval Aviation Enterprise to a permissioned blockchain, it can be expected that the mass adoption of decentralized platforms among the private as well as government institutions might not be so far along the way.