Comprehensive Digital Engineering for Legacy Airframes and Subsystems

NCMS Project #: 142169

Problem: Building digital engineering structures for legacy systems, and particularly the development of digital twins, is an extraordinarily data-heavy endeavor and assembling/aggregating the data required can be cost prohibitive as much of the data is inaccessible, or non-existent.  As the number of commercial entities adopting digital twin technologies continues to grow, so too does the visibility of data inadequacies

Benefit: The results from this complex initiative will also have the potential to benefit commercial airlines, transportation companies, construction firms, and other companies that rely on fleets of large-scale costly equipment.

Solution/Approach: This initiative will use the B-1 Lancer to provide a methodology that exemplifies how to build detailed digital twins for legacy vehicles where significant technical data is missing.  The digital twin will integrate ultra-high-fidelity simulation with the B-1’s on-board integrated vehicle health management system, maintenance history, and all available historical and fleet data to mirror the life of its flying twin and enable unprecedented levels of safety and reliability.  This tool can be used to evaluate damage or changes to the aircraft usage in order to repair, modify the design, modify structural inspection intervals, or even reevaluate the design life of the asset.

Impact on Warfighter:

  • Reduce maintenance and sustainment costs 
  • Increase vehicle availability 
  • Provide insight into vehicle lifecycle and maintenance needs 
  • Increase warfighter readiness  

DOD Participation:

  • Air Force B-1 System Program Office (SPO) 

Industry Participation:

  • Wichita State University – National Institute for Aviation Research (NIAR)
  • NCMS

Benefit Area(s):

  • Cost savings
  • Repair turn-around time
  • Maintenance avoidance and reliability
  • Obsolescence management and continued maintenance capability
  • Maintenance management improvement
  • Improved readiness
  • Reliability improvement

Focus Area:

  • Advanced/additive manufacturing