You often hear blockchain in the same breath as security and supply chains. This week, a successful entry to a competition organized by the US Department of Defense put both aspects in a new light.
To keep up with the increasingly technological battlefields of contemporary warfare, the Department of Defense continues to explore ways to innovate the manufacturing process and supply chain for weapons and infrastructure used by the U.S. Air Force and Navy.
The Advanced Manufacturing Olympics, held virtually October 20-23 this year, sought to recruit traditional DoD contractors, technology developers, and academics to use new technologies, especially 3D printing, to manufacture and supply critical parts mobilize in the military supply chain.
SIMBA Chain, an intelligent contract-as-a-service platform developed by the University of Notre Dame and ITAMCO, won first place and a $ 100,000 award for participating in one of the engineering challenges presented during the Ministry of Defense Olympic Games.
For the challenge, the Ministry of Defense developed a war game scenario in which a fictional island was besieged. The participants were tasked with using additive manufacturing (3D printing of metals, plastics and composite parts as required) and creating a secure communication and delivery network for forward deployed military units and medical personnel on the front lines. Joel Neidig, CEO of SIMBA Chain, stated:
“We […] We had six days to put together a complete war game solution, delivering critical parts to a front line, keeping the field hospitals operational, and keeping infrastructure like runways intact. What was different about our approach was how we met both the physical challenges of war fighters and the cyber threats that are playing an increasing role in modern warfare. “
SIMBA beat other contestants like Boeing, which won third place, and Stratasys, second place, for using blockchain to provide a secure network that creates cyber-resilient communication between additive manufacturing laboratories across the supply chain.
The Ministry of Defense Olympics are of course not a challenge to idle war games that end with the creation of a fictional island. The Air Force is trying to turn successful solutions into commercial realities, and SIMBA Chain is already working with several parts of the Department of Defense, including the Air Force and the Navy. The company says it “has high hopes that blockchain, and particularly the SIMBA chain, will soon be an integral part of the US military’s strategic weapons.”