Inspection and Fractographic Analysis to Develop a Digital Twin for a Legacy Aircraft – Phase IV

NCMS Project #: 142077

Problem: Establishing digital twins for legacy commercial aircraft is a problem for the aviation industry as a whole.  The data necessary to establish digital twins for commercial aircraft is either non-existent or cost prohibitive to obtain.  This initiative will use the B-1 to provide a model/template that addresses how to create detailed digital twins for legacy aircraft where much of the requisite technical data is missing.

Benefit: This initiative will use a military aircraft as a surrogate to industry to demonstrate how using a digital twin can benefit the general public.  Key outcomes and benefits of the digital twin methodology can be shared and applied across the commercial aircraft industry, the automotive industry and other commercial manufacturing environments.

Solution/Approach: Phase IV will build on the work begun during Phase III.  Phase IV will focus on the isolation of a fuselage structure through the removal of wings, landing gear, nacelles, vertical and horizontal stabilizers and engines. 

Impact on Warfighter:

  • Greater safety and security
  • Reduce maintenance and sustainment costs
  • Increase productivity and life span of assets
  • Improve warfighter readiness

DOD Participation:

  • Air Force B-1 SPO
  • U.S. Army Aviation

Industry Participation:

  • Wichita State University (WSU) – 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
  • Durability
  • Reliability improvement
  • Lightweighting

Focus Area:

  • Rapid problem solving