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

NCMS Project #: 142143

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 V will focus on the identification of systems components, scanning of the individual component to obtain external shape, and CAD modeling of specific systems components from a space preservation perspective.  The models generated will only be representative of the outer mold line (OML) shape except in special cases where subassembly level models are requested.  The system component CAD models generated as part of this effort will be integrated into the structural air vehicle digital twin, currently being developed during Phases I-IV. The system component models will support future development of flight system model-based simulation capabilities.

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

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:

  • Advanced/additive manufacturing