Accenture and Thales unveil blockchain tech to support aerospace and defence supply chains

By James Henderson
Accenture and Thales have unveiled a new blockchain-based system that could help secure and streamline the complex global supply chains supporting the a...

Accenture and Thales have unveiled a new blockchain-based system that could help secure and streamline the complex global supply chains supporting the aerospace and defense (A&D) industry.

Based on Hyperledger Fabric, a Hyperledger project hosted by The Linux Foundation, the prototype combines blockchain, internet-of-things and other innovative technologies – including Thales’s physically unclonable function (PUF) solution for silicon chips and Chronicled’s tamper-proof cryptoseals – to track, trace and authenticate aircraft parts and materials.

Developed jointly by Accenture and Thales as part of Thales’ firmwide digital innovation program, the solution provides a single, shared view of the supply chain – and an immutable audit trail – for partnering suppliers, manufacturers and operators.

“The aerospace and defense industry has one of the world’s most vast and complex supply chains,” said John Schmidt, global managing director for Accenture’s Aerospace and Defense practice.

“Blockchain technology offers a new, elegant and secure way for the industry to track and trace myriad components while deterring counterfeiting and improving maintenance capabilities.

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“Used in combination with technologies like digital twins and digital threads, blockchain could ultimately be a game-changing innovation for this sector.”

According to a recent research report from Accenture, 86% of A&D companies expect to integrate blockchain technology into their corporate systems by 2021.

“Identifying counterfeit and grey-market goods in the A&D supply chain can be challenging,” said Gareth Williams, vice president for secure communications and information systems at Thales UK.

“Using blockchain in combination with cryptoseals and physically unclonable functions allows you to build a trusted history behind parts. This demonstration builds on the strong relationship Accenture and Thales have created developing innovative digital solutions for a variety of industries.”

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