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

NCMS Project #: 142076

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 III will build on the successes of Phase II and add resources to further accelerate the overall effort with a special focus on the teardown, inspection, scanning and modeling tasks required to create the digital twin of the entire B-1 aircraft. These additional resources will address existing constraints resulting from the required staggered, non-sequential nature of these tasks, and accelerating the work will allow the project team to better identify and focus resources on structural problems digitally, before they become a problem physically.

Impact on Warfighter:

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

DOD Participation:

  • U.S. Army Aviation
  • Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR)

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