Quest for “smart flight lines” reflects both the desire to accomplish everyday tasks more efficiently and a stark realisation service simply does not have enough people to do all its jobs.
There’s a part of this which means we have to grow, but we also have to be good stewards as well and look at the highest priority missions and look at how we’re using airmen today and find ways to repurpose airmen against the highest priorities.”
Leaders are searching for new types of technology that could help prepare planes for battle.
Must make planes and other weapons all talk to one another with Digital Twins. That would be a shift: much of the arsenal was built by defense firms that used proprietary standards, preventing the weapons from communicating electronically and requiring lots of time and money to modify them.
This is a big challenge for us to be able to change fundamentally the way we think from wars of attrition — sensor, weapons, platforms — to wars of cognition, which is networks that share and learn. “Making that cultural shift and translating that to an acquisition strategy is going to be a big lift. But the faster we do it, the faster we’ll improve our lethality as a joint team
Basic Expeditionary Airfield Resources [BEAR] support shortages in several locations have been identified and commander of excess BEAR assets for redistribution has been notified.
The cost-benefit assessment compares shipping costs with the cost or value of the item being shipped and the Digital Twin identifies instances when it is more costly to redistribute items to bases rather than retaining the assets at their current location.
According to the Digital Twin platform, the automatic re-sourcing function can be used to periodically check for the availability of assets to satisfy requisitions that remain in a backordered status.
The Digital Twin platform identifies eligible orders and if any exist, will prioritise the orders and then attempt to locate and release assets. If the platform identifies that excess assets are sufficient to satisfy a need, the system will automatically process a transaction to fulfill that need.
“Must Upgrade Installed Suite of Engineering Systems so Dismantle/Swap Out Processing Consoles is not Necessary”
What the surface fleet wants is a single combat system that runs on every ship, and runs everything on the ship, and that doesn’t mind what hardware you are running so long as you have the computing power for it.
“That’s an imperative going forward — we have to get to one, integrated combat system so if a sailor who is trained on a big-deck amphibious ship transfers to a destroyer, no extra training will be necessary to run the equipment on the destroyer.
On a ship, that means that if the Navy adds a new radar, missile or laser, the Digital Twin platform that runs the new equipment is developed as an application that interfaces with the single integrated combat system.
This has the benefit of having everything linked by the Digital Twin for operators in the combat information center, sonar control, on the bridge or in the ship’s intelligence-gathering center. It also means that new systems are quickly integrated, skipping the expensive process of ripping out old servers and consoles.
“We need to continue down the path to be more aggressive and get a lot more competition in the Digital Twin space. Not to call it completely open, but as open as we can be, and then share that with people who can come into a common space and apply their expertise to develop products that we may or may not want to buy. That’s where we need to go.”
The grand vision for this operating system from the deck-plates perspective would be the merging what are, today, disparate functions into one unified system.
One of the areas in which this segmentation creates limitations falls between the combat information center — which collects and displays information gathered by ships’ sensors — and the intelligence hub known as the Ship’s Signals Exploitation Space — which uses top-secret sources to collect data on the theater in which the ship is operating.
“We need to break down the barriers-- both a physical bulkhead and computing systems and platforms. “That’s what an integrated combat system is: You have the traditional combat system function, and the intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance functions — non-real-time and top-secret information functions — merged into one multilevel security-protected by the Digital Twin.”
In that scenario a watchstander in the combat information center with the proper security clearance could see what information Ships Systems Engineering Station has on the aircraft and their mission while stripping out top-secret information such as sources and methods that the engineering system needs to protect.
And once Combat Information Center has a radar track associated with that intelligence, all the engineering station data will get merged into it so decision-makers in combat have the necessary intel at their fingertips.
But the Digital Twin logic applies to all the ship’s sensors, not just intelligence collection data. The unified combat system would associate every piece of sensor data with the track being displayed in info center. Everyone connects to a single system that gives every watchstander all the information they need on every track, both real-time and non-real-time data.
“The integrated combat system includes all mission areas, “It’s electronic warfare, it’s anti-submarine warfare — we don’t segment out air and missile defense and electronic warfare, they are all just applications within the combat system. The Navy has to stop thinking of the engineering system, sonar, combat, electronic warfare and the bridge as different and separate elements. They have to be part of the whole.”
There’s a number of obstacles to getting the surface fleet on a unified system, but one that could be insurmountable: the staggering cost of replacing the fleet’s outdated computer hardware.
The Digital Twin begins moving the Navy down this path of a single, unified combat system. The library is essentially the iOS of an iPhone: The Navy can use the source library to program applications that run sensors and weapons systems.
So, if the Navy has a new missile system it wants to run, the Digital Twin tasked to run it will be designed to run off of the source library — and ships with the library will be able to rapidly integrate it, just like downloading the latest navigation or gaming software for a smartphone.
But the issue is that source library requires specific hardware to function. “One of the challenges the Navy has, the constraints, is the hardware and infrastructure to support a common integrated combat system.
“So while we are marching forward with the capability to be open and take in apps, there is an antiquated architecture out there and there is hardware that doesn’t support it. … You can’t run integrated operating systems today the standard computer. You’re just not going to be able to do it. So let’s gut them and put some blade servers in, and we’ll work with you.”
The issue with replacing a fleet full of legacy cost over dozens of surface combatants in need of updated computers, you start eating up billions of dollars and lose decades of operational availability.
So while the Digital Twin does give the Navy an interface with which developers can create applications to run various systems, it’s all pointless if the service doesn’t have the right equipment.
Even if the Navy did back-fit all the surface ships with updated servers, you’d need to get all the suppliers to play nice in the sandbox by sharing proprietary information for the benefit of a unified combat system.
Ultimately, however, the Navy must shift to operations that decouple the computer suites that run its combat systems from the system itself.
“You can either upgrade the existing ships on that model, which is expensive and you rip the ship apart to do it or you design the ship with the idea that you are going upgrade the hardware over its time, and you separate the hardware/software layers.
“What we don’t know is how to upgrade the fleet at the pace we need moving forward in the future. We don’t have a structure in place and a process by which we do that upgrades with speed.
To ensure each responsibility is met — and every architect, contractor, and supplier remains on schedule and budget — effective construction project managers must utilise tools and strategies that help them manage their work flows.
"Contractor Creating ‘Smart Shipyard’ to Streamline Workflow”
Contractor in process of establishing several pilot programs aimed at creating a Smart Shipyard that could accommodate Digital Twin plans with no paper or two-dimensional drawings but instead would be all digital and all 3D. taking the lead on this initiative and estimates that creating an integrated Digital Twin shipbuilding system.
The vision for this whole thing is, you’ve seen the Redbox where you can check out movies – … you go down and you can just tell the Redbox who you are and then it gives you an iPad with your work downloaded for the day, and off you go and go do your work,”
“It will have delivered the material to the deckplates. You’ll have everything you need to be able to go to work. And at the end of the day you’ll put your iPad back in and it now knows what progress you made, and it updates it for tomorrow.”
Benefits of Digital Twins in terms of training include having 3D models of the ship would make it more intuitive to build and operate the ship, saving training dollars for the shipyard and the Navy.
Must focus on the impact to the builders by embedding training videos in the digital work packages to refresh you on training for something you’re about to do, show you some safety videos, things that you ought to think about as the mechanic does his work.”
But in creating a digital shipyard that can do that much in aiding shipbuilders, contractor would actually set itself up for something even bigger.
Heart of a 3D Digital Twin Product Model Environment is a Blockchain Backbone that is “the single source of truth” for all activities at the shipyard – all the designs for all the ships being built, the status of inspections, the list of materials needed to build the ship and their status and location, and so on. Once that information is all in the Digital Twin system, everyone working at the yard can find a way to pull information or add in information.
Vision is “having our entire yard wired so that when new things happen like the popups you’re seeing that say ‘work package complete,’ you can instantly get that information,” showing off an interactive map of the shipyard depicting how all the business functions could make use of the Smart Shipyard concept.
“‘Material received,’ you instantly know it’s in. ‘This inspection is complete.’ So you start to streamline your entire process because your information is all flowing from every area.”
In addition to the animated work packages that remind builders how to install parts and embed safety and training videos, this kind of real-time network of information would vastly improve efficiency,, avoiding trips across the yard to check on the status of materials, or pausing for an unknown duration while awaiting someone else to complete their job.
A pilot program involves a laser scanner to help create 3D images of spaces that were originally built using paper drawings – chiefly, spaces on the ships that need refueling and overhauling during a mid-life docking period.
“What we’ve found and had some real success with is this laser scanning, where if you don’t have a 3D product model you will … laser scan the millions of data points, and create Digital Twin model of that space that you can then use in this digital environment” in future ship availabilities.
In the process of everyone using tablets to go about their daily work, the system would end up collecting inspection records, maintenance logs and more that could be analysed to help become more efficient in the future and to create more accountability.
“Once we have all that data, what do you do with it? Once you’re equipped with the Digital Twin, what kind of information can you pull?”
Digital Twin is wired so when new things happen like the popups you’re seeing that say ‘work package complete,’ you can instantly get that information w/ interactive map of the shipyard depicting how all the work functions could make use of the Smart Shipyard concept. “‘Material received,’ you instantly know it’s in. ‘This inspection is complete.’
Videos show how Digital Twin tablets can allow shipbuilders to “see through” a ship’s hardware and overlay designs and other information onto a real space as technicians move around.
It’s part of a larger plan to make shipbuilding paperless, Digital Twins can also contain training videos, safety films and other instructions for shipyard workers. In coming years, the concept may expand even further.
“The vision for this whole thing is like Red Box. “you can tell Red Box who you are and it hands you an iPad with your work downloaded for the day.”
At the end of the day, workers can return their tablets to the central “Red Box” location, where they will be reset with the next day’s work and information.
“Our goal is to be drawing with Digital Twin technology to be the first drawingless ship, and we think that the savings associated with that are tremendous. Leadership is helping us when we look at how we go do this, how do we do this efficiently, what are the savings associated with that.”
The demonstration gave a glimpse of how Digital Twin applications can aid in providing an enhanced experience to Airmen preparing aircraft for combat missions.
Aircraft armament systems Airmen are responsible for maintaining launch and release devices on aircraft. This means that when a pilot pulls the trigger, the devices successfully launch away from the aircraft toward the intended target. Munitions systems Airmen are responsible for the assembly and processing,, store, transport, arm and disarm weapons systems to ensure the safety of all Airmen involved in preparing aircraft sorties.
These two groups of Airmen operate in a complex work environment where aircraft up-time is paramount. Digital Twin technology may present a unique way for the Air Force to ensure every Airman can get the training they need, catered to the individual’s preferred method of education.
“It’s a way to build the readiness and experience level by leveraging advanced technologies. In the past, we received this level of experience because the weapon systems were in need of constant repair and maintenance. Now, our systems are more advanced, and it’s hard to practice difficult repairs.
“We can build our skill sets and proficiency faster by not having an aircraft break to perform the training. We could break one virtually at any time, any place. Digital Twin is a unique way to fully train while still maintaining our mission capable rate.”
The immersive Digital Twin scenario allowed users to walk inside a hangar with a piece of munition positioned for maintenance. The user could look around the hangar, interact with the munition, pull up the technical order in a full-view mode or even watch a video of someone successfully installing that specific item on the munition. Essentially, the person could take apart and reassemble a bomb in the middle of the conference room.
If Digital Twin platform is fully implemented into its training processes, workforce could have virtual hands-on experience much earlier in their careers, which could bridge the training-to-experience gap challenge the Services now face.
The in-garrison mission may be different from the deployed mission. That gap can become noticeable if an Airman who has a home-station duty on a certain airframe or munition deploys and must work with unfamiliar equipment or in a joint environment. Digital Twin could be used as recurrent or just-in-time training to bolster the combat capabilities of those deploying Airman.
Fortunately, construction management has become more technical with the development of new platforms to simplify many processes. But simply purchasing tool or platform is not enough — project managers must also figure out the best way to implement and sustain those tools. Here are strategies to help construction PMs become even more successful:
1. Create a Flow of Communication
Communication is essential to every phase of any construction project. Establish a flow of communication with everyone on the ground — and every stakeholder and supplier in the plan. This transparency will make the process smoother and will reduce the number of messages and phone calls whenever a problem arises.
One of the simplest ways to create a flow of communication is a work execution platform. By linking comments, photos, documents, and calendars in a single location, you can monitor updates, budgets, and scheduling changes as they occur.
A robust platform also allows you to relay these changes to other managers and accounting offices in real time through instant alerts, automated actions, and easy-to-visualise dashboards, providing a nearly email-free and paperless method of project management. That means more time for you to spend at the construction site meeting contractors to coordinate the next stage of work.
2. Make a Habit of Continuous Planning
Planning is an important phase of project management, but construction project managers should start planning long before actual construction begins, and continue revising and developing plans until the project ends. The design, pre-construction, and procurement stages of a construction project each require extensive planning — and each may need to be revised as the next stage unfolds.
Anything can happen at a construction site. If you encounter unexpected environmental problems during the pre-construction phase, the design may need to change. Even slight adjustments can affect the overall plan and timeline.
This remains true during the actual build. While you will be working with experienced professionals in engineering and other disciplines, they still need a focused direction to coordinate their efforts with each other.
Manage stakeholder access to processes so that the different business owners and contractors only see what you want them to see for example, if a contractor needs to share fixture measurements they can submit an update and without delving into a sheet with details that aren’t needed to complete their work. Construction PMs can provide limited access to specific columns and rows to contractors, maintaining full control over permissions.
You’ll often need to work with stakeholders throughout the timeline to develop and refine plans as delays and equipment failures arise. Like any PM, you will execute and monitor developments, but plans often change in construction project management.
3. Observe and Ask Questions
Field elements can dramatically impact the workflow of construction projects. There will be many times when you need to actually see an issue in person before you can resolve it.
Being familiar with the construction site and the duties of every professional working under you will make you a better project manager. Construction is a constantly evolving industry, with new equipment, practices, safety requirements, and advancements every year.
Administering and managing a successful project requires continuous improvement and learning. A great deal of communication may be streamlined, but the work still requires regular site visits and conferences with the contractors and designers on the ground.
4. Budget Projects With a Work Execution Platform
In construction, the permits, materials, and equipment needed for projects are often exchanged between an array of vendor sources. From the initial bidding process to the project closeout, construction PMs are responsible for tracking and monitoring all costs, especially as they relate to initial budgets.
Even relatively small construction projects contain hundreds of moving parts and individual costs, so to remain effective you need to use apps that can also help you manage costs as you move through the key phases of construction budgeting. In addition, through your platform, you should have access to templates for construction project management.
A best-in-class work execution platform can enable you and all of your stakeholders to input costs, budget changes, and other calculations to keep track of your project constraints, alleviating the need to coordinate with every participant or to calculate your budget. Additionally, spend time collecting Blockchain signatures for every invoice, which means you and your contractors can devote more attention to the task at hand.
5. Embrace Automated Reporting Systems
No construction project manager has the time to reply to hundreds of emails a day — or use the phone to call and address every question about budgets and progress. In addition to concentrating comments and schedules, you can cut down further correspondence by implementing automated reporting systems.
Construction project management requires the weekly distribution of many status updaate reports, and automated delivery tools will save significant time over the span of the build. This automation will ensure the right reports go to the right people on time, allowing you to focus on other tasks and communication. Other reporting systems, such as safety management, can track incidents, and streamline worksite analysis when issues do arise.
6. Don’t bite off more than you can chew.
The first step with automating your construction business is to start small. To begin, focus on time-wasting processes you can improve to ease your business into automation. Time management is a great start because it can provide a high return of investment. You get great results by maximising your efficiency and, in turn, your bottom line.
From here, you can slowly but steadily reduce the number of processes involved with running your business. Once you start automating certain processes, others become obsolete.
7. Hire experts and purchase tools.
You aren’t expected to be the expert in automating your construction business, so at some point, consider hiring one to ease the pressure off of you and your employees. Outside experts can take a fresh look at your business and analyze each process to find ways of increasing efficiency.
You should purchase tools to help automate your business. From resource scheduling to inventory management to capital allocation to digital marketing and customer service, the right tools help simplify and ease the transition from manual to automated. For example, with scheduling tools, you schedule posts in advance. You can create the post and schedule it ahead of time, so you can focus on your current projects out in the field.
8. Build your organisation around automation.
Your employees may feel threatened by automation. They may worry their jobs are in jeopardy. However, while automation may remove some jobs, it also provides new jobs and more opportunities for employees to grow in their fields. Let’s say you have a marketing manager. Instead of creating posts every morning and afternoon, they can now spend more time focusing on strategic marketing campaigns to acquire new clients and projects.
Automation develops higher efficiency and even higher-paying jobs for your business. Sit down with your employees to discuss why you’re moving from manual to automated processes, why it’s beneficial, and address any concerns they may have.
9. Work with data.
Embracing the role of data is important automation. While large companies can afford to hire departments to gather, sort and analyze data about customers and company performance, small businesses don’t always have this advantage, but there are tools to help you monitor and analyze the information from various sources.
10. Look toward the future.
While it’s important to ease into automation, you should also keep larger goals in mind. Think of what larger processes you’d like to automate. Larger automation goals for your construction business can include drone builds, semi-automated robots, artificial intelligence and 3D modeling and printing..