The U.S. Air Force (USAF) will use SIMBA Chain, a blockchain platform to shore up its logistics and supply chain capabilities. SIMBA Chain is a cloud-based Blockchain-as-a-service (BaaS) platform. This government contract will enable the USAF to explore how blockchain technology might improve its logistics and supply chain capabilities.
“We’re moving what was once a broad, strategic concept to reality,” said Brenchley Boden, Senior Engineer at Air Force Research Laboratory. “Digital Thread is game-changing, and we’re leading the charge.”
The USAF requirement
The Air Force possesses a highly complex logistics and supply chain network which:
- moves millions of parts around the world
- must function dependably
- must work without interruption.
Such complexity, with the need for ongoing, documentable precision – appears to offer a suitable use case for blockchain technology. More specifically the USAF will use SIMBA Chain to scale its additive manufacturing supply chain. This follows on from a call – put out earlier this year by the Department of Defense (DoD) through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program – seeking technologies with commercial applications which can:
- help streamline the USAF’s supply chain and logistics
- stay ahead of the technological curve.
Blockchain technology can securely connect the Industrial Internet of Things (IIOT) because it provides a permanent digital ledger and consensus network. This applies not only to the USAF but has implications for industries spanning government to manufacturing to healthcare.
SIMBA Chain Inc. was formed in 2017 from a grant awarded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to Indiana Technology and Manufacturing Companies (ITAMCO) and the Center for Research Computing at the University of Notre Dame. The objective was to develop a secure, unhackable messaging and transaction platform for the United States military.
SIMBA Chain is a cloud-based, blockchain-as-a-service (BaaS) platform. It enables users (across a variety of skill sets) to implement dapps (decentralized applications). These dapps:
- enable secure, direct connections between users and providers
- eliminate third parties.
The SIMBA Chain platform is for users, developers, government and enterprises. They can deploy blockchain dapps for iOS, Android and the web with the following blockchain-relevant aspects:
- Decentralisation: There is no single point of control which means there is no singe point of failure.
- Low latency: SIMBA Chain uses Microsoft’s Government Azure cloud platform for rapid transaction finality.
- Immutability: More than tamper-proof, once one stores data it cannot change (or be deleted).
- Customisation: users bring their own logic and the platform will auto-generate a custom API.
- Open sourced: The SIMBA Chain Platform is open sourced to the community.
- Ease of use: users across a variety of skill sets can implement dapps.
“We’re excited to be the first implementers of Blockchain across the entire Digital Thread, not only securing it but applying a non-repudiable and immutable ledger,” said SIMBA Chain CEO and Founder Joel Neidig.
Enterprise Times: what does this mean
All air forces possess complex supply chains and the requirement for accuracy as well as 24×7 availability. The USAF just happens to be the biggest and most complex of all, with a global reach and an aircraft fleet bigger and more varied than even the largest airlines.
For Enterprise Times this SIMBA Chain project is worth monitoring. With the IIoT and additive manufacturing dimension, along with the use of BaaS on an Azure platform, the initiative covers many bases. If proven, this would add significantly to the credibility of blockchain. Unfortunately, being a DoD contract (with its typical defence obsessions about secrecy), the probability is that those who might learn most – industry and the commercial world – may learn little.