The Defence Science and Technology Agency of Singapore announced in a press release that it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Rolls-Royce to partner on digital service solutions.
The MoU was signed by Singapore’s Defence Science and Technology Agency (DSTA) and Rolls-Royce at the Farnborough Airshow in the United Kingdom on 18 July 2018, where DSTA expanded its digital partnerships.
The Defence Science and Technology Agency, a statutory board under MINDEF, harnesses and exploits science and technology, and provides technological and engineering support to meet the defence and national security needs of Singapore.
Adopting a systems engineering approach, DSTA undertakes design, development, acquisition, and systems integration responsibilities, as well as operations and support management. These span the entire spectrum of capability planning, development, and sustainment of weapon systems throughout their life cycle to ensure that the SAF continues to be a formidable fighting force.
In keeping with this mandate, the partnership between DSTA and Rolls-Royce will focus on the use of data analytics and digital twins which integrate artificial intelligence, machine learning, and software analytics, in improving the availability and performance of the aero-engines, optimising the time and resources spent on engine maintenance, and thereby improving the availability and performance of the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) aircraft (i.e., The RSAF’s C-130 Hercules aircraft, G550 early-warning aircraft and A330 Multi Role Tanker; transport vehicles that are powered by Rolls-Royce engines). These capabilities can also be used to potentially transform engine support and maintenance training.
A recent report explained that the service’s six A330s, which will be delivered later this year, are powered by the Rolls-Royce Trent 700-series engine.
This agreement signed by DSTA at Farnborough is in addition to a similar one Singapore announced in early February, which will see DSTA and Boeing, the American company, jointly develop an information management tool leveraging data analytics to identify trends and insights on aircraft performance with the government agency.
The tool will be used to analyse flight and maintenance data for the service’s fleet of Boeing F-15SG Strike Eagle fighter jets and AH-64D Apache attack helicopters. The findings will also be used to develop algorithms for predictive analytics for smarter maintenance and operations.
Mr Tan Peng Yam, Chief Executive at DTSA said that Rolls-Royce supports an extensive and diverse fleet of aircraft, which provides a data source to dive deeper and generate insight on aircraft engine performance for defence. Partnering Rolls-Royce to co-develop data-driven digital solutions will boost DSTA’s efforts in enhancing the effectiveness of aircraft maintenance and will boost operational efficiency.
Mr Tom Bell, Rolls-Royce President, Defence, said that Rolls-Royce looks forward to working together with DSTA to develop new and innovative digital technologies that will enable it to bring greater capability to the Republic of Singapore Air Force.
The future of RSAF’s fleet of aircraft looks bright and both parties look forward to a productive partnership, particularly since part of Rolls-Royce’s contributions might comprise the latest robotic devices it has released. At the Farnborough Show Rolls-Royce demonstrated the future of engine maintenance with robots that can crawl inside engines.
The robotic technologies displayed each represent an opportunity to improve the way engine maintenance is delivered, for example by speeding up inspection processes or by removing the need to take an engine off an aircraft in order to perform maintenance work. This has the potential to offer significant benefits for customers by reducing the cost of engine maintenance, increasing the availability of an engine and ensuring any maintenance required is completed as quickly as possible.
These significant advancement in the field of robotics technology, if harnessed by Singapore’s Air Force, have the potential to revolutionise the way aircraft are inspected and maintained.