This change can move warfighters to the centre of e defense industrial production/repair process. Warfighters can now directly design one-of-a-kind items over mobile network space, pass this to the manufacturing plant, negotiate schedules, be part of the testing regime and arrange delivery.
Production/Repair can be built and controlled around the Digital Twin include advances in robotics and 3D printing. The digital thread runs from start to finish, connecting the entire design and production process with a seamless strand of data that stretches from the initial design concept to the finished product.
Changes to the design are then instantly transmitted across the whole process. The Digital Twin is a model of the product that gives insights into the inner workings and operation of the product, simulates possible scenarios, and aids understanding the impact of changes.
The Digital Twin runs from product inception to service allowing operating experience data to be fed back into the model to update it and prompt possible production changes.
New technology allows manufacturing times to be cut; surge production in time of crisis is once again a realistic possibility. Moreover, specialised tooling is no longer always essential, allowing commercial production lines to be quickly switched to military purposes
With techniques such as additive manufacturing, production batch sizes can now be small or on-demand without significant impact on production efficiency. Items can be produced affordably through closed loop processes and have performance improvements introduced quickly.
The warfighter can now customise equipment on their own optimmised for their needs and operating environments. Moreover, warfighters will be able to make regular reliability improvements and plan on-time logistics support.
Key drivers are “big data” analysed using artificial intelligence; high capacity connectivity; new human-machine interaction modes such as touch interfaces and virtual reality systems; and improvements in transferring digital instructions to the physical world.
Advances in the business of network connect potential mean manufacturing can now occur anywhere with widely distributed production lines near the warfighter, transportation hubs or for protection in case of attack.
All this combines to mean the Digital Twin allows devising a future defense force structure able to rapidly evolve to meet emerging operational demands, not the years or even decades it takes under earlier industrial revolutions. The time lag between new challenges arising and technological responses to those challenges could drop dramatically. Continuous innovation may become the dominant quality of the future force and bring with it prototype warfare.
The prototype warfare concept has two phases. In the first, a wide array of diverse prototypes are developed using Digital Twin and evaluated in experimentation programs. In the second, those particular prototypes that have proven successful in the trials are produced in limited numbers and quickly introduced into-service.
So defense industry can now rapidly field a variety of low-cost, less complex systems and then replace these with improved variants or something totally new on a regular basis. It may seem calling the small number of prototype systems in service ‘short-life cycle capabilities’ might be more accurate than the ‘prototype warfare’ phrase. However, the phrase nicely captures that these limited production items are rather immature and less than fully developed.
Some Special Forces already use such a prototype warfare type concept but only on a small scale and for rather restricted purposes. Scaling up the idea for larger defense forces would see the short-life, semi-experimental items produced under Digital Twin process being part of the overall military force structure, augmenting the long-life, more complicated, well-proven platforms.
Two-tier force structure has been proven useful in battle. is not unknown. Numerically small, technologically advanced mechanised units can quickly kickstart the battle for the remainder to fill in behind. Such a stunning success is what the notion of prototype warfare aspires to.
But capabilities produced under this prototype warfare will have some generic shortcomings. To meet the continual innovation objective, the new capabilities will be generally of limited complexity and therefore probably be single role not multi-purpose and perhaps have geographic operating restrictions.
But there are risks in implementing digital platforms. affordability is a real constraint. There is not just a single capability being pulled forward from the experimentation program but numerous. Funding needs to be spread across many prototypes. Overspending on one will adversely impact others and the overall force balance.
The prototype expeditionary force structure concept envisages fielding many simple capabilities on a rolling basis not a single shot.
Supportability of rapidly changing equipment scenarios is a real issue but here where Digital Twins come into play. The digital thread connects all the production participants across the equipment’s life cycle so new variants can quickly incorporate availability and reliability improvements.
Digital Twin ensures a well-tracked digital manufacturing database of maintenance items and replacement components is available to all and that these can be readily ordered and dispatched, at times electronically to 3D printers deployed in remote battle space.
Similarly the equipment’s digital twin can assist anyone anywhere in understanding how to support and maintain the equipment. Augmented reality could be used to show maintainers who have never before seen the system how to rapidly diagnose and make repairs. Such systems can also help train the equipment’s operators in the field, possibly using tablets or other mobile devices.
Digital Twin will overturn many of our long-held conceptions of defense equipment manufacturing and long-term support. A well-connected warfighter-industry-research defense industrial construct can allow continual innovation, bringing in its wake prototype warfare and the ability to have a rapidly evolving force structure.
While only a small fraction of a force structure might use Digital Twin prototype warfare equipment, this may be sufficient to decisively win on the battlefield. The Digital Twin prototype warfare construct might be the silver bullet needed in the unpredictable, constantly shifting military operational battlespace present in modern combat.
Our military is in a high-stakes race to harness the power of data, a revolution that may make previous leaps in military technology like radar may pale in comparison. To fully seize these opportunities before our adversaries do, we need to look less at the technologies we covet and more in the mirror about our own data structures and operational behaviour.
We are already finding new ways to inform and accelerate processes so we can increase the pace and transparency of decision making and reduce the cost of generating and operating our forces.
But imagine if we could eliminate the need for calendar-driven inspection cycles because we’ve adopted real-time digital feedback in our platforms and systems so we are able to measure and evaluate our generating processes as end-to-end systems, regardless of the number of commands involved.
Someday soon, we’ll look back and wonder at the arbitrary nature of work that once drove our existence. But this represents only the beginning of our digital opportunities. Gaining a digital edge will transform the way we fight in the future. Speed is of the essence though, because our adversaries are actively and rapidly seeking the same digital advantages.
To date, one of the pacing elements has been the data themselves. The ability to apply a digital edge to the fight requires high-quality data that includes critical information over the right period of time.
Our systems and programs, often built serially over time with the best of intentions, prevent critical sharing and cross-talk, and results in accumulation of digital data that is not useful due to a lack of transparency and interoperability.
Maintaining to tight of a grip on data to the point no one else can use it stalls momentum and leaves us further behind. Storing “your own” data or structurally failing to ensure high-quality data input at any entry point adds more quicksand and bogs down progress toward gaining a digital edge.
The Autonomic Logistics Information System is an information technology system central to the F-35 sustainment strategy. It is intended to provide the necessary logistics tools to F-35 program participants as they operate and sustain the F-35 aircraft.
ALIS consists of multiple software applications designed to support different squadron activities, including supply chain management, maintenance, training management, and mission planning. Specifically, for supply chain management, ALIS was intended to automate a range of supply functions—including updating the status of parts, generating supply work orders, and communicating critical data about parts.
However, these capabilities are immature, resulting in numerous challenges and the need for maintainers and supply personnel at military installations to perform time-consuming, manual workarounds.
In order to manage and track parts, one unit estimated that it is spending the equivalent of tens of thousands hours per year performing additional tasks and manual workarounds, including for supply-related functions, because ALIS is not functioning as intended.
Supply and maintenance personnel we spoke with at various military installations cited challenges associated with ALIS, including the following:
First, missing or corrupted electronic spare parts data required to install a part on an aircraft, necessitating extensive research and troubleshooting to resolve;
Second, maintenance and supply systems within ALIS not communicating with each other, resulting in difficulty in electronically tracking aircraft parts as they are physically moved between maintenance and supply locations at the same base;
Third, limited automated capabilities, requiring manual and sometimes duplicative steps for receiving, tracking, and managing parts
Useful application of data is different from challenges we have encountered in the past. It is part of all we do. We not only require, but must demand enterprise solutions for sharing and use of the information we collect and create daily.
We need to move quickly to intentional, authoritative, high-quality data securely captured, stored, shared, and integrated across the military. We have to curate and rationalize the countless disparate databases and outdated technology which leaves us unable to “see” and make use of basic information.
Our opportunity today at this information inflection point is to see things differently, as a complete team – to see data and advanced analytics in the proper sense: as warfare enablers that pulse through every ship, aircraft, submarine, sensor, weapon, and perhaps sooner than later, every Boot on the Ground.
Yes, we all want to move faster and embed technologies like artificial intelligence/machine learning into our weapons and platforms, from the keel up. To get where we want to go – with machines teaming with us to restock our supply bins before we ask, that update our combat training devices as soon as our systems change, or that indicate dangerous trends and provide solutions well before we need to act – we must first commit, as a Service, to move out smartly, inculcating trust and scaling learning across our institution.
Finally, if history teaches us about the power of grasping new technology as an institution, it also tells us something else: that our adversaries are well-known for seizing the element of surprise.
Allowing competitors to dominate the data domain will make that surprise even more of a risk to our security. It’s up to us to create Digital Military Force for the rest of this century through a unified approach and as one team.
Mobile solutions have the power to deliver advanced capabilities boosting readiness, streamling operations and empowering faster, smarter decisions. Even the slightest dip in mission-capable rates can have significant effects on ability to move people, weapons, fuel and mission-critical supplies to support mission needs across the globe so each percentage change in readiness is a reduction in capability.
Operational areas that can reap the most from mobile include flight line maintenance, supply chain management and situational awareness. Tactical aircraft maintenance specialists integral to ensuring aircraft is maintained to the highest standards.
These specialists require seamless communication to make sure aircraft are ready to fly at a moment’s notice so pilots can safely and effectively achieve the mission at hand. But the job of these specialists can prove especially challenging when there aren’t enough maintainers to do this taxing work.
Mobile solutions like e-digital tools and apps can help leaner teams streamline and optimise flight checklists, safety inspections, equipment maintenance and logistics.
Additionally, secure tablets can harness data like sensor analytics to view real-time inventory and schematics, better utilise spare parts, manage aircraft diagnostics solutions, and essentially allow maintainers to stretch resources.
1. Apply systems engineering approach balances total system performance total ownership costs within the family-of-systems, systems-of-systems context
2. Develop systems engineering plan approval describe program overall technical approach, including processes, resources, metrics, and applicable performance incentives.
3. Detail timing, conduct, and success criteria of technical reviews
4. Develop total system design solution balance cost, schedule, performance, and risk,
5. Develop/Track technical information required for decision making,
6. Verify technical solutions satisfy customer requirements,
7. Develop cost-effective/supportable system throughout the life cycle,
8. Adopt open systems approach to monitor internal and external interface compatibility for systems and subsystems,
9. Establish baselines and configuration control
10. Create focus and structure of interdisciplinary teams for system and major subsystem level design.
Top 10 Observations of Day-to-Day Work/Field Experiences Identify Trends/Challenges of Digital Twin Simulation Utilisation
Specific sessions with engineers, technical/simulation managers, R&D, quality managers were performed. Surveys were conducted in a typical inductive approach assess key practices, processes, tools and data associated with simulation and product/process development.
1. Domains/application: depth and completeness of engineering simulation areas
2. Methods: engineering simulation tools utilisation
3. Level of integration within driver/follower processes
4. Process gates and decision criteria: definition, completeness, visibility
5. Documentation of simulation process and decision-making criteria/milestones
6. Level of adoption/dissemination of engineering simulation in extended organisation
7. Depth/completeness of specific skills of engineering simulation
8. Organisation: relationship and integration between engineering simulation teams and the rest of product development teams
9. Data lifecycle/workflow: modelling, capture, revision, access/control
10. Infrastructure: central/distributed computational capacity, support/availability, post-process remote/local capabilities
Top 10 Application Requirements Design Local Enterprise Agent Operation Information for Virtual Network Extend Functionality.
1. Domains exist for applying of multi-agent systems in production support
2. Intra-enterprise production planning
3. Extra-enterprise production planning
4. Production simulation.
5. Highly complex systems to be controlled
6. Distributed information not available centrally
7. Domains with quickly changing scenarios and problem specification
8. High number of heterogeneous systems to be openly integrated
9. Cooperation of independent units
10. Coordination of virtual organisation.
Top 10 Site Visit Executive Task Assign Responsible for Aircraft Depot Maintenance Workload Administration
1. Allocate resources to include potential mobilised operations
2. Customise depot complex to meet requirements not performed by industry
3. Consolidate workloads to capitalise on similar/common capabilities
4. Distribute workloads to activity with capacity to perform
5. Establish Technical Interfaces between Services to share assignments
6. Identify components of Service plans to match resources with requirements
7. Consider commercial and in-house size/capability constraints
8. Fund Depot operations, construction & modernisation activities
9. Implement uniform cost accounting and information systems
10. Accomplish product support goals of administrative action plan
Top 10 Result Sharing of Objects by Individual Nodes Assist Agent Groups with Solutions to Distributed Problems.
1. Lower communication costs achieved by abstracting preprocessing data
2. Transmission lowers communication bandwidth requirements
3, Placing processing node proximity reduces distance of data transmitted
4. Lower processing costs achieved through the use of new systems
5. Less complex mass produced processors by load sharing
6. Allows idle processing nodes to handle some of the work of a busy processing node
7. Reduced application complexity achieved by decomposing the problem-solving task
8. Decomposing tasks more specialised than overall task
9. Result of decomposition is reduced application complexity at each processing node
10. Performs small number of subtasks compared to application performing the complete task.