The US Department of Defense (DoD) is arming itself with new AI and IoT technologies to power predictive maintenance of aircraft and boost mission effectiveness.
Top Gun just got real. The US Air Force’s Defense Innovation Unit Experimental division – also known as DIUx – has selected C3 IoT, a Redwood City, California-based specialist in big data analytics, to help provide it with IoT-powered, AI-based predictive maintenance software.
The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), it seems, is on a mission to increase asset availability and reduce maintenance expenditures and DIUx is central to those efforts, as a DoD organisation focused on accelerating the adoption of emerging technologies.
F-16 with IoT
After an evaluation process designed to test the maturity and scalability of the C3 IoT Platform, the DoD, via DIUx, has contracted C3 IoT for a multi-year agreement to deliver the C3 Predictive Maintenance software product for aircraft platforms.
The first two platforms will be for E-3 Sentry (AWACS) and F-16 aircraft and both are scheduled to go into production within the next six months.
The DoD hopes this will help it to integrate an enormous volume of disparate data, some of it structured (sensor reports, for example) and some of it unstructured (such as maintenance logs), in a unified, cloud-based format running on Amazon Web Services’ GovCloud (US).
From there, the intention is to apply AI and machine learning at scale, in near-real time, to predict impending failures at both component and system levels.
AWS GovCloud (US) is an isolated AWS region that holds Provisional Authorizations for FedRAMP High and Moderate baselines. In theory at least, that allows the DoD to use it to host sensitive Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI) and all types of regulated workloads.
Proactive and targeted identification of opportunities to service and replace aircraft components will increase deployment certainty”. In other words, the Air Force will know when, where and how it can use specific aircraft. It will also reduce the frequency and duration of unscheduled maintenance repairs and enable necessary repairs to be scheduled more efficiently. Finally, it will make maintenance staff more productive.
“The combination of big data, elastic cloud computing, AI and IoT is becoming the most significant development of the information age and is driving the digital transformation of every industry – including aerospace, government services and defense,” said Ed Abbo, C3 IoT president and CTO.
“With DIUx, the Department of Defense is demonstrating leadership in moving quickly to integrate these leading-edge technologies into the U.S. military for strategic national security.”