Ensuring the traceability of defense and aeronautical products with blockchain
Applied to the logistics chain, it ensures the traceability of all documentation, materials, etc. exchanged between the company and the end customer. The blockchain application is very useful to avoid the use of counterfeit components in manufacturing or maintenance processes.
The blockchain platform can be used by all the actors involved, facilitating transparent communication, since it is possible to know what, who and when has been involved in the process of a product or document in the internal production chain of a company, and it can cover up to the final delivery process to the client, having clear traceability throughout the process. That is, from the moment it leaves the factory until it reaches the customer in the case of new products or documents, and from the moment it leaves the customer until it returns to its facilities in the case of repairs.
Each actor has a copy of the record that includes the set of elements. In order to add an item to the record, the actor needs to receive permission from others before this addition forms a block. Each block has a cryptographic summary of the previous block that is then added to the blockchain. Once logged, the data in any block cannot be retroactively altered without modifying subsequent blocks, which requires the consensus of the majority of the network. Thus, the chaining, the cryptographic layers that verify and secure the set of additions, and the duplication of the record make it totally unforgeable.
Blockchain transactions are permanently recorded on a decentralized network, which uses a distributed ledger; this means that all participants are owners of the information. It is a dynamic network, because its participants are constantly recording information, and also automated because, through algorithms, the occurrence of certain actions previously established by the parties can be programmed.
The blockchain platform is already used today in multiple logistics chains, including for example the control of containers for global maritime transport or the traceability of the origin of food in supermarkets.
At Thales, aware of the benefits that this technology can bring to the Defense, Aeronautics and Security sectors, taking a first step towards Industry 4.0, its Production and Maintenance center in Spain will have a platform to interconnect all the applications that are currently used, generating the connectivity of all workbenches and test methods to extract all the information, which can be used efficiently.
To comply with NATO standards and those of the Ministries of Defense for which the company works, blockchain will be used to ensure the traceability of all parts and products that access the site, both those that enter, either from suppliers or customers to their repair, like the ones that come out.
Among the products that will have this advanced management are radiocommunication, aeronautical and naval equipment.