MELBOURNE, Australia — Singapore has signed agreements with Airbus and Rolls-Royce at the Farnborough Airshow to leverage data analytics and digital technology to support new tanker aircraft that will enter service this year.
The Southeast Asian nation’s Defence Science and Technology Agency, or DSTA, has agreed to details of the first initiative under a recently announced digital technology collaboration with Airbus Defence and Space for the development of 3-D-printed spare parts for testing on Singapore’s new fleet of A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport aircraft.
The implementation agreement DSTA signed with Airbus at Farnborough will see the European aircraft manufacturer support the agency in designing and certifying parts produced by additive manufacturing for Republic of Singapore Air Force aircraft. Additive manufacturing is an alternative term for 3-D printing.
In addition, both parties have agreed to collaborate on data analytics for predictive maintenance. The head of Airbus D&S' military aircraft services, Stephan Miegel, said the collaboration will benefit the development of Airbus’ new SmartForce suite of maintenance data analytics launched at Farnborough. That suite is meant to help operators exploit aircraft data to improve troubleshooting, optimize maintenance efforts, predict maintenance needs and plan smartly for material demand.
DSTA also signed at the air show a memorandum of understanding with Rolls-Royce to partner on digital service solutions. The collaboration will focus on the use of data analytics aimed at optimizing the time and resources spent on engine maintenance. The memorandum also aims to improve the availability and performance of aircraft operated by the Air Force.
The service’s six A330s, which will be delivered later this year, are powered by the Rolls-Royce Trent 700-series engine. Singapore has also ordered the H225M Caracal medium-lift helicopter from Airbus, with deliveries expected to begin in 2020.
Rolls-Royce engines also power the Air Force’s fleet of Lockheed Martin C-130B/H airlifters and Gulfstream G550 early warning aircraft.
The agreements signed by DSTA at Farnborough are in addition to a similar one Boeing announced in late June, which will see the American company jointly develop an information management tool leveraging data analytics to identify trends and insights on aircraft performance with the government agency.
This will be used to analyze 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.
Mike Yeo is the Asia correspondent for Defense News.