One of the worlds largest consulting firms, Accenture, has partnered with the UKs leading global defence firm, Thales, to launch a blockchain for the aerospace industry that aims to secure and streamline aerospace and defence (A&D) supply chains.
Unveiling the prototype at the Farnborough International Air Show in July, Gareth Williams, vice president for secure communications and information systems at Thales UK said:
“This demonstration builds on the strong relationship Accenture and Thales have created developing innovative digital solutions for a variety of industries.”
Developed jointly by Accenture and Thales, the aerospace solution uses blockchain to provide an immutable audit trail with a single, shared view of the supply chain for partnering suppliers, manufacturers and operators. Global managing director for Accenture’s A&D practice, John Schmidt stated:
“The aerospace and defence industry has one of the world’s most vast and complex supply chains.”
As the prime contractor for advanced air and missile defence capabilities to NATO forces, as well as a number of other defence forces globally, the launch of the blockchain for the aerospace industry, marks a major development by Thales.
Thales’ Gareth Williams added:
“Identifying counterfeit and grey-market goods in the A&D supply chain can be challenging,”
According to a press release on Accenture’s website, by combining nascent technologies such as blockchain and the internet-of-things (IoT), the system could deter the issues around counterfeit components. Accenture’s Schmidt said:
“blockchain is able to offer the aerospace industry a secure way to track and trace myriad components while deterring counterfeiting and improving maintenance capabilities,”
The blockchain prototype also utilises Thales’ ‘physically unclonable function‘ (PUF) solution for silicon chips, and Chronicled’s tamper-proof cryptoseals to keep track of parts and materials used in aircraft manufacture.
According to a research report by Accenture, “86 percent of A&D companies expect to integrate blockchain technology into their corporate systems by 2021”, John Schmidt added:
“Used in combination with technologies like digital twins and digital threads, blockchain could ultimately be a game-changing innovation for this sector.”
Blockchain has fast become a key element of Thales’ firmwide digital innovation program that is focused on utilising disruptive technologies to meet the needs of a highly powerful and prestigious list of clients.
Interestingly however, a report by job-market analytics firm Burning Glass, revealed that Accenture topped the 2017 recruiting list for blockchain jobs with 537 openings, compared with 237 for IBM and 157 for startup incubator ConsenSys.
There are numerous supply chain blockchain developments under way in a variety of different industries, from De Beers diamond blockchain solution Tracr, to a pharmaceutical blockchain with GSK and ConSensys startup Viant, to the mass scale shipping solution of IBM and Maersk.