The U.S. Air Force said Tuesday it would use the digital twin to forecast maintenance issues that may occur in B-1B units. The university's National Institute of Aviation Research is now inspecting every part of the Lancer aircraft to develop the virtual twin.
"We have been scanning the wings, and the wing scans have been helping us understand how to build new repairs for some of the cracks that we have seen in the wings themselves,” said Lt. Col. Joseph Lay, material leader of the B-1 Program Office's engineering branch.
Lay said the virtual twin would provide B-1 maintainers a ready-to-use repair approach, eliminating the need to develop repairs for every time a damaged area is spotted.
“Then we will be able to apply data from aircraft in the field to help us predict areas that are more likely to have structural issues. This living virtual model of the B-1’s structure will be superimposed with layers of maintenance data, test/inspection results, and analysis tools, which can be integrated over the aircraft’s life cycle,” Lay said.