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A forum for airing and sharing concepts and ideas between the defence sector and other market sectors using digital twins. Including, but not exclusively: aspects of Lifecycle V&V; commercial and personnel issues; engagement between suppliers, particularly SMES, and the MOD/FLCs. *** The content of this network (posts, shared files ...) is visible to guests of the DT Hub website (non-registered members).***
  1. What's new in this network
  2. Hi Folks, Some of you will be aware of notifications from the UK Ministry of Defence, others of you may be less aware. Increasingly, these have a bearing on digital twins and related issues. I have posted 3 updates below and suggest that you may wish to follow-up the information directly. If you would like to team with others on these or other topics (the preferred MOD method of engaging with industry), you may wish to post that information as a notice to this group, inviting other interested parties to join you. NavyX A2ETS (Autonomy Assessment Evaluation and Training Simulator) A training requirement using simulation to free up 3 Navy assets. This call (ending 7th Aug 2023) is for the Navy to understand the ‘art of the possible’. RFI - NavyX Autonomy Assessment Evaluation and Training Simulator - Contracts Finder Mustang Project 2 A similar ‘art of the possible’ call for a mobile and dynamic air defence suite against which the Airforce can train. More details from air-cmrcl-ngot@mod.gov.uk by 21st July 2023 @ 15:00. Update to the 2021 Defence Integrated Review An update to the strategic document, incorporating ‘lessons learned’ from recent events, was published today (17th July 2023) [https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/research-briefings/cbp-9750/ ] . It will, undoubtedly, be closely followed by the Services and other departments publishing their interpretation and how they intend to apply it. There is expected to be increased interest in faster moving simulation, DT and related technologies for which industry support is being sought. Please let me know if re-posting related MOD activities, such as these, is a useful feature for this group. Dave Murray
  3. I would like to draw your attention to a £3M grant to establish a multi-disciplinary research community in digital twinning, complementing the existing industry-led multisector digital twins community. The objective being to define and establish a national DT capability. The grant is offered by UKRI and they are encouraging applications from consortia of organisations, including those with partners with wider interest but little or no DT experience. Help in making the application is available, the closing date being 23rd March with funding available from 8th August 2023. I am happy to help coordinate interest (LINK) and more UKRI information can be found here: LINK. Dave
  4. How does your organisation (not only in the defence sector) transition projects from requirements into functional wire-frame/ mock-up interactive models? What precedes the first model and when is it introduced? Is it paper-based requirements’-capture, mind-maps, fish-bone diagrams, user stories ….?
  5. I am wondering at what stage of requirements’ elicitation and definition, practitioners in the various sectors introduce their first interactive software model(s)? Or maybe it all starts later? I don’t mean MBSE diagrams but representations of meeting requirements that all stakeholders can understand, interact with and contribute to. How is it done, what does it look like, what does it do? What tools are used and how is it validated?
  6. Hi Henry thanks for your response. It certainly has the potential to do that but achieving it has a way to go! As you suggest, agile implementation is a difficult concept for an organisation that is pre-disposed to giving clear orders. However, requirements' development, with validation using scenarios ,and then prioritising them for agile development is certainly a way to address that issue. I would be interested to hear how other sectors go about using synthetic environments and scenarios for requirements' generation.
  7. The change from a waterfall to an agile methodology has got to be a hard sell for an organisation like the MoD. Is iterating scenarios helping bridge that uncertainty?
  8. Hi Folks, Once again, “welcome” to our new members, thank you for joining us and please feel free to add your experiences, thoughts. comments and ideas to our shared cause! Activity on the network has been quiet during the summer. The previous ‘Introductory Overview’ that can be found in the ‘Documents’ section of this network (see top bar of the site) had over 200 views. I intend that the topic of skills will soon be addressed by another document at a similar technical level. So, we look forward to seeing those people again and benefitting from the wide experience of this group’s members – keep an eye on the network so you don’t miss it! Funded Opportunities Some areas of interest to the Ministry of Defence are likely to resonate with skills in other sectors. DASA (The Defence and Security Accelerator) finds and funds exploitable innovation and are particularly interested in engaging with non-defence companies. Please be aware of the following current DASA opportunities: 1. National Security: the current focus is on hardware and software to capture, store, transfer and tag audio, visual and audio/visual evidence. We're looking for proposals of up to £100k, 3-6 months long, and starting at TRL4/5. Closing date 14th September. 2. Human Augmentation: technologies that could temporarily or permanently modify human performance. Looking for ~£70k, 6-month projects that will deliver at TRL3. Open until around 14th September). 3. Countering IEDs by Novel Technology and Techniques: seeking proposals that can rapidly accelerate and enhance electronic capabilities to counter Improvised Explosive Devices. Proposals of up to £400k and 6-18 months are invited. Open until around 14th September). 4. Defence Technology Exploitation Programme (DTEP): a new UK-wide initiative from DASA, which will launch this summer. This will fund and support collaborative projects between small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and higher-tier Defence suppliers and help them win new business delivering against MOD’s technological priorities. 5. "Defence Innovation Loans" programme, an opportunity for SMEs with solutions to Defence themed problems to apply for a loan of between £250,000 and £1.6 million to aid the commercialisation of the solution. You can apply at any time - see the information here. I would appreciate any feedback about this section of the topic - is it interesting/useful? Did you apply? How did it go? For more information contact Peter Wilkins (pwilkins@dasa.service.mod.uk) to discuss your ideas. Very best regards, Dave Dave Murray
  9. Hi Folks, As always, “welcome” to our new members, I hope you find something useful in this network! The following may be useful as an update/reminder on the structure of defence: MOD Comprises: Dstl – (Defence Science and Technology Laboratory) a research organisation. DE&S (Defence Equipment & Support) responsible for running projects that will be used by the Armed Services and other Government Departments. Armed Forces and other departments responsible for Cyber and Security of our country. DASA (The Defence and Security Accelerator) finds and funds exploitable innovation in support of the above – particularly interested in engaging with non-defence companies. Here is an update on current defence funding (DASA) opportunities. (I would guess that the technology in at least the first of these is already available in the Built Environment??). "Remote Monitoring of Sensitive Sites", with a total of £750k available (max £75k per projects). Closing date is 18th May and more information is here. The current cycle of DASA’s Open Call closes on the 22nd June, so around 6 weeks away. "Defence Innovation Loans" programme, an opportunity for SMEs with solutions to Defence themed problems to apply for a loan of between £250,000 and £1.6 million to aid the commercialisation of the solution. You can apply at any time - see the information here. Dstl are launching the MOD's new science and technology research portfolio at the free-to-attend "Supercharging Science" event on 7 June 2022 at the International Convention Centre in Newport. More details, including a link to the registration form, here. Coming soon! The "Defence Technology Exploitation Programme"; a new funding programme to support SMEs across the Defence sector in developing innovative technologies and winning new business, through working collaboratively with higher-tier companies. There's a little snippet of information in this document, but much more to come very soon. I hope this is useful – if in doubt, contact Peter Wilkins (pwilkins@dasa.service.mod.uk) to discuss your ideas. Very best regards, Dave Dave Murray
  10. Welcome to those of you new to this group! It’s good to see more people joining, especially interesting is the wide background now represented by our members. I hope this will stimulate 2-way sharing of information, knowledge and experience between the defence and other sectors. To new members particularly, please look at an article in this group’s ‘Documents’ folder (extreme right (or second row) below the banner) on 18th January (was it really that long ago?!). It sets out to describe the digital thread in the defence sector that will lead to digital twins being introduced. Many other sectors are ahead of us in this; so, please comment, agree, disagree and feel free to suggest better ways of doing things! Extending this theme of getting the basics of Digital Twins (DTs) consolidated, there are a number of areas that spring to my mind where sharing experience would be useful – please add your own and/or vote for topics: 1. Requirements: What is involved in getting requirements specified in a DT-friendly way – that is to kick-off the design process as a first step in producing a DT?? E.g. as an executable model rather than a pile of documents. I see that Iain Miskimmin has already made a valuable contribution relevant to this area and has included a very helpful link in his posting ‘Modernise or Die’ on 1st Feb. Iain’s document defines a structure and points to identifying who needs what and when – valuable considerations when launching future projects – thank you Iain, your mix of military and industrial experience is greatly valued. 2. Recruitment: There are issues in recruiting Engineers – does the improved join-up of lifecycle aspects create more opportunities for non-Engineers – for example in User-Engineer communications?? 3. Federations: Are there likely to be difficulties in joining-up twins from different technical domains when integrating towards creating a National twin environment? What, if any, standards will be needed? If there is to be a model of the physical environment, into which twins can be inserted, what physical aspects should it include (e.g. geographic, weather, responses to RF and other parts of the EM spectrum, etc.)?? Please share your thoughts so we can introduce relevant-to-you topics for more in-depth discussion. Some Funding Opportunities Finally, I regularly point to the funding available from the Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) and this time there are some notable initiatives – more information will be available from Peter Wilkins (DASA): · An Open call closes on 27th April – for information about what has previously been funded click here · Check the more focussed calls for wearable technology and information systems’ assurance · £1.3M to fund integration of telepresence, robotic and haptic technologies · £2.8m for novel S&T in distributed Radio Frequency (RF) sensing; integrated RF effects; and provision of Position, Navigation and Timing as a Service click here for more information · A market survey of the range of technologies used for commercial positioning and navigation systems (+/- 5 metres accuracy) suitable for use on rapidly moving platforms – for possible exploitation funding later this year · Loans programme provides an opportunity for single small and medium enterprises with solutions to Defence-themed problems to apply for a loan of up to £1.6 million with a below market interest rate. Broadly speaking this is intended to help turn prototypes into products · Digital Catapult are working with the National Cyber Security Centre to find companies who can offer best in class research and potential solutions in the area of resilient hardware. Funding (up to £80k per project) - closes 3rd April I hope that some of this is relevant to some of you – please comment to help steer what you would like to see.
  11. Dave Murray

    Digital Twins in Defence

    Hi Iain, First – welcome to the group! Second – many thanks for this message, it is clear and thought provoking. It has sparked a number of further thoughts in my head: I agree with your observations about the defence sector being better at buying shiny new toys rather than cost-effective capability. I wonder how the Front-Line Command visions to in-Service implementations might be improved? Perhaps dstl could help with this? Regarding joining-up the information sets in such a way as to support queries in the way you describe, I suspect there is a lot of (very worthwhile) work to do. I can see activity in thinking about the ‘digital backbone’ but I am not aware of the kind of approach that you are suggesting. Perhaps this is something we could raise with Caroline Boughton (Director Acquisitions and Approvals Transformation Portfolio)? You raise an interesting variant on the definition of a Digital twin as being required to take a controlling role foe the physical entity (e.g. “The sensors around the building record the temperatures into the digital twin and the digital twin acting on what will be the optimum temperature for those living in that building will then adjust through actuators the HVAC system accordingly.”). I would be interested to hear the views about this from the Built Environment practitioners because most definitions put the controlling functions into the physical entity with the twin ‘shadowing’ it. Your vision of the National Digital Twin is clear. I wonder about the complexity needed of the ‘circuit board’ to be able to support whatever is ‘plugged-in’ at any time? There is a lot of thinking going into Multi-Domain operations/integration so that many otherwise independent services (water, gas, police, fire, ambulance and armed forces) could unite to respond to national emergencies. It would be interesting for us to try that concept on those working in that area. Your reference (https://tinyurl.com/ye7a5fp6) to the COMIT Reference work is very useful and I look forward to hearing responses to that work. Your questions are ones that echo around the areas of interest and result in much debate. Your recommendations would benefit from being introduced into those areas to help focus thinking into ways of achieving the otherwise open-ended questions. You may be aware of the Team Defence Information (TDI) work on generating a roadmap for digital defence issues? It covers many of the topics you raise including Multi-Domain, lifecycle, supply chain, in-Service support and T&E. Participants are always welcomed, more information can be obtained by contacting Steve Green (steve.green@teamdefence.info) who is TDI’s project manager for this work. I will pass a reference to your document to Steve. Finally, I hope that what I have said here is useful but I know that the defence sector is difficult to penetrate (the clue is in their name!). I wonder if you have any thoughts about what might be the next steps in progressing the ideas you present here? Thanks again, Dave
  12. With 30 years British Army service in many different branches, as well as being part of many government and industry BIM/ DT initiatives since 2010. I felt that the recent work on the "Circuit board" methodology for creating the NDT could be of use in defence: Modernise or Die! Over the last 90 years the British Government has publish a series of papers telling the construction industry is risk averse, tech shy and laggards when it comes to modern methods of construction. Each of these papers has become increasingly desperate until the Farmer Review in 2016 which displayed the strap line of the front page “Modernise or Die”! In 2011, they announced a whole raft of initiatives to digitalise the industry and in doing so, how we design, construct, operate and maintain our national infrastructure. The past 10 years have been an exercise of brilliant minds, over promising technology and admittedly failure to make the impact that it should have. I have been with the journey from the beginning helping to strategise and advise whilst learning along the way. The lack of complete buy in from industry is, in my opinion, due to poor communications of the value proposition and inability to talk the language of business. So, when the UK Government published the “Global Britain in a Competitive Age” which was an Integrated review of security, defence, development and foreign policy, I noticed that its ambitions in these areas, were aligned with the Digital transformation journey that had caused me much grey hair and sleepless nights over the last decade. Once again, I see the issues repeating themselves in short spending, postings and leadership cycles, which impeded our Construction industry quest. The Integrated review was quickly followed by Defence in a Competitive Age, Digital Strategy for Defence and Human Augmentation – The Dawn of a new Paradigm! Much of which read like a shopping list for expensive technologies and shiny toys. To understand how a defence digital twin could work, we first need to understand some of the terminology and how it relates to defence. Asset Anything that has value to its organisation. So, in military terms this could be anything, from an aircraft to a rifle, a vehicle, a radio, a building, a ship, a sandbag or a person! BIM If someone were to ask me what BIM was, I would first clarify that they meant Building Information Modelling, and that it was the worst acronym that could be chosen to describe what the activity is! In basic terms, Information Modelling is the activity of collecting, managing and making available information that can be trusted and has value to the organisation that owns it. In simple terms, imagine it like the internet…. If you want to know the answers to a question or how to do something, you fire off your smart speaker and ask it a question. It will then go off and look in many servers, databases, websites and systems to find information relevant to your query and then present it back to you. This should be the same for your own information model, a simple query written in plain language should tell you how to design, build, operate or maintain whatever asset you own. The biggest difference being that you will be able to trust everything you are presented with and it will be relevant to you as a person and the role you fulfil! Digital Twin When we delivered Crossrail (well, most of it…) it was said that we delivered both a physical and a digital asset. The Digital asset or Twin is all the information we hold about the asset, just like the information model but with a few additions. Firstly, the digital twin has a two-way link with the physical asset so that changes in conditions of the physical asset are automatically updated in the digital, and any adjustments to optimise the asset can be made by the digital to the physical. Think of a building with a temperature control system. The sensors around the building record the temperatures into the digital twin and the digital twin acting on what will be the optimum temperature for those living in that building will then adjust through actuators the HVAC system accordingly. Secondly, the digital twin will be aware of its direct impact and relationships with other digital twins around it. Thinking back to that building, its digital twin will know when the most electricity or water is needed and can inform the utility company’s digital twin that these are peak times, so they can adjust their output accordingly. Or perhaps if the trains are delayed and most of the employees commute that way, the transport owners digital twin would inform the building’s digital twin and the heating or lighting could be switched on later. The National Digital Twin When delivering a national strategy for future spending, resilience reaction or business planning, it is seen to be very advantageous to be able to see a small part of all the digital twins affected by the strategy and see where there is a critical need, vulnerability or spending priority. This is seen as a national digital twin. This is not a huge database of everything, but a simple lightweight circuit board that each digital twin can be plugged into when needed so that the bigger picture of impacts and relationships can be understood. The Digital Twin in Defence In defining a digital twin for defence, we must take the same thinking and define each of these things. Our assets in defence come in many different shapes and sizes, but they all come with a set of information somewhere on a system. These sets of information, whilst currently, in my opinion, not completely trustworthy or entirely valuable form the basis of that asset’s digital twin. This information will help to operate, maintain, plan for or procure any of these assets. For the basis of illustration, imagine each of these digital twins as a chip. Recommendation No1. To ensure that all the systems are talking about the same asset, the UK Government adopted a classification system called Uniclass. This ensures when many different organisations talk about a single thing, then there is no ambiguity. The first recommendation is to ensure that there is a common defence classification system in place. Recommendation No2. The current set of information held against our defence assets is not trustworthy or in many cases required by an end user to carry out a task, meaning that this isn’t valuable, and we would be wasting money and time on it. The second recommendation is to understand what information is valuable to that end user and using good standards ensure that it is trustworthy and in a format that is easily usable by them. Each of these pieces of information, if existing needs to have which system they reside in identified. See DT in Defence image attached. The process of identifying these specific pieces of information is simple, but can be time consuming and is documented here: https://tinyurl.com/ye7a5fp6 The methodology for defining and linking information at organisational level down to mission level has already been used in the infrastructure world. With a great by-product of being able to generate Digital Smart Orders from the outcomes and information requirements packages. Question No1. What is a Digital Smart Order? Much time is wasted sifting through higher level strategies looking for information about how to deliver a mission. Days are spent re-writing orders, objectives and how we define a mission success when all this, plus all the relevant warning orders for all the supporting elements could be automatically generated and distributed to the relevant commanders. Question No2. Will I need to procure a brand-new system and put all the information into it? No. This information can reside in its existing system and will only be accessed when required. This means the proposed Defence Digital Twin is more of a circuit board that pieces of relevant, valuable and trustworthy information are exposed to when they are needed for analysis. Recommendation No3. It is rare that our assets will ever be utilised in isolation, so a mapping exercise needs to be conducted that will define the interdependencies between them. So, when an asset is operated or maintained those other assets that are impacted, whether they depend on the asset or the other way around. The methodology for this activity already exists in the 170 Royal Engineers’ Infrastructure Assessment team. Question No3. Are these interdependencies set in stone? No, they will change as assets and tasks change, through either human intervention or machine learning. Question No4. Where are these stored, does this mean updating our existing systems? No, these are not stored on the existing systems, but in the Defence Digital Twin circuit board application. So now we have a set of trusted and valuable information about each asset, which is stored in the existing systems. And these are our “Chips”. We also have a set of rules that when I utilise this chip for an activity, I also need these other interdependent chips to ensure that the activity is successfully carried out. For example, I cannot look at a Rifle in isolation, it needs ammunition, secured storage, oil, trained operator, skilled maintainer etc. Each of these is an interdependent chip with a relationship to the Rifle. The Defence Digital Twin is the circuit board, that can be populated with multiple chips, either placed by a commander wanting to carry out a task, or by the system when it sees an interdependency that is critical to the task. It is a lightweight system, that stores little information and can be dismissed and re-created when a strategy, mission or task needs to be planned or conducted. Imagine being in the battlegroup headquarters and being briefed that this is the Brigadiers intention, and you need to find out if its possible. The time taken to write and the present the idea, then the time taken for each element to investigate if and how it can be done, and then each element briefing back again; how long does that take? How much wasted time is there because the information isn’t available, can’t be trusted or can’t be found? What if the battlegroup commander, could simply ask a question to Siri. “I need to move 1SG BG from grid 1234 to grid 4567, crossing the river at X on this date. Is this possible?” and Siri responds with a yes, automatically generating the knowns, unknowns, risks, warning orders, stores requests and holding them for when needed. Speeding up operational tempo, removing mistakes from tired overstretched humans and making sure that the answer is factual rather than emotional. (how often do we get strung up for our overly optimistic “can do” response?) Recommendation No4. The creation of software that will provide the circuit board and the artificial intelligence that is able to: · Extract out the trusted valuable information form the existing systems · Understand the relationships between each chip · Understand what chips are required for each task, mission or objective · Be able to generate warning orders, stores requests, personnel requirements etc for when the “go” button is pressed. A plea to the procurement team Put your cheque books away, stop buying shiny new software and kit. We learnt this lesson the hard way in the construction industry. · Get the information right first, understand what is valuable to the organisation, the mission and the tasks that we need to support. · Make sure that information is well managed, findable, trustworthy and valuable to the end user. · Identify where that information resides in the existing systems and ensure its accessible. · If the information that the end user needs doesn’t exist, gather it and manage it. · Get a better understanding of the relationships and interdependences that ensure nothing is overlooked or missed. · Build a list of tasks and missions, understanding which assets are needed and how they interact with the other assets in that task. Start at platoon level and build up. · Define and procure the “circuit board” that will make all these pieces of information and assets work together. · Define the types of questions that will be asked and ensure the artificial intelligence can deliver a coherent answer. · Define and procure the “digital smart orders” software that takes all the analysis done on the circuit board and produces a list of the knowns, unknowns, risks, warning orders, stores requests and holding them for when needed. This is not a sexy activity, this isn’t an expensive activity, but it will deliver the results needed to speed up operational tempo, reduce information misunderstandings, reduce mission and task risk and overall reduce the cost of delivering a mission. Digital twins in defence.docx
  13. Dave Murray

    Welcome & Discussion Topics

    Hi Folks, Very best wishes for 2022 and a special welcome to those of you new to this group. I look forward to getting to know you all better in the coming months. So, how might you benefit/contribute to what we do? The links between the defence and civil sectors are shortening with experiences being shared and, as a result, lessons being learned. An example is the cooperation between Health and Military professionals to overcome the issues exposed by Covid. Although you may have seen the ‘front-lines’ of both health and military in connection with getting your jabs, there is a lot of planning and logistic experience being shared – as I said, with mutually beneficial lessons being learned. There are two areas in which you may wish to consider adding your experience and, of course, picking up any beneficial tips that you may encounter on the way. 1. Defence Digital Lifecycle The defence-sector’s journey along the DT road is progressing. As would be expected at this stage, there is some confusion and mis-understanding about what it all means. In the ‘Discussion Documents’ section of this network I have summarised what I believe is the most widely accepted view – tailored to defence (link). I believe that we want to table the best common view that we can achieve, so that it will be simpler for all DT participants to converge their thinking and understanding. The built environment, combined with military planning and resources, will then be best able to handle civil disasters. This will enable the first responders (including the military) and long-term support teams to be suitably trained and prepared to deal with whatever occurs. So, please add your comments to the debate – how should/does it all work? 2. Defence Opportunities I would like to share a sub-set of information from the Defence and Security Accelerator program: · The current open-call for funding new ideas closes on 2nd March. The "Rapid Impact" stream and "Next Generation Wearable Technology" - are attracting interest. On 27th Jan, the Home Office are running Maritime Capability (Small Boats CCTC) Industry Briefing to present to the market the Home Office’s key operational challenges in securing the UK border in the English Channel. Check out a couple of webinars where the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (live event 18th Jan) and UK Counter Terrorism Policing (23rd Feb) will share their science and technology priorities and show you how to get involved. On 28th Jan, the Royal Navy Develop Directorate are holding an industry engagement event to introduce the new Maritime Operating Concept key themes and also the Develop Directorate Industry Engagement Plan for 2022. To find out more about the above please follow the links but, for general questions, DASA’s Peter Wilkins would be a good first contact. If we can build a rich response to the issues presented here, I have in mind several other initiatives that we can take in 2022. Very best regards, Dave
  14. Defence & Digital Work is being undertaken to implement a Defence Digital Transformation. Recently, several prominent figures have been appointed to further that objective. In this sense, ‘defence’ includes homeland security with its response to civilian threats and disasters, not only terrorist or cyber related but also natural ones such as flooding and those need to mitigate Covid and similar major impacting events. In such circumstances police, ambulance, fire-fighters and others (e.g. NHS, water, electricity and gas provision) may need to be supplemented by the armed forces. This poses the question about what changes are needed individually for each of these responders, in addition to their coordination. The common thread, important to this community, is clearly digital twins. The picture is still emerging but below (The likely route for new-product development) is my summary of the likely direction to be taken by the key players. It summarises and builds on work undertaken by TDI, the DT Hub’s guidelines (DT Tool-Kit and other work), plus multi-domain integration considerations sponsored by the Government. Following the summary, and expected discussion around it, I intend to invite open discussion about aspects that it raises, for example: 1. What lessons come from previous model-based requirements’ capture and use of scenarios? 2. Does this formalisation of process detract from the freedom of design teams? 3. Customer and all stakeholder engagement is central to this process. Test Engineers often encapsulate a good balance between technical aspects and customer management. So, is offering more responsibility to Test Engineers a route to mitigate the claimed shortage of suitably qualified and experienced people (SQEPS)? Sectors outside defence have already trodden this path and so I hope that people with that experience will also contribute. The ideas and experiences will contribute to the thinking and planning in the defence sector. The likely route for new-product development: Requirements:- The use of high-level software models to define requirements is being advocated. The models will represent only the item (equipment) to be produced and will be independent of environment and other models. Scenarios aimed at demonstrating what is required of the new equipment will be prepared. A federation of models and the forthcoming Defence Synthetic Environment will be created to run the scenarios. Later in the project the models will become physics/mathematical accurate representations, at this stage they would be more akin to training models being ‘visual-only’, as used in computer gaming. These are simpler to generate and change. A main purpose is to allow users, and all other stakeholders, to participate in requirements’ validation and achieve buy-in to the project. Lifecycle:- The intent is to add detail to the initially validated requirements’ model as the project’s design and development lifecycle rolls out. A key feature is that the original scenarios should produce the same test and evaluation results at each iteration to verify that the implementation of the current stage has remained on-track – or not. This will make it easier for DE&S Project Managers to monitor project progress and to know when to call dstl (Design Authority) back to arbitrate. It is understood that ‘the model’ may actually be several models – sometimes called an eco-system of models. A typical eco-system would include supply chain information, stock availability, documentation database etc. that would be linked and interdependent using a common parameter database. Many of these could be shared between several projects so that re-using ‘templates’ from previous work becomes viable and highly cost-effective. Digital Twins:- The final testing stage would be part of acceptance before any real-world trials are undertaken – thereby further reducing risks and costs, as well as being more environmentally friendly. Taking it a stage further, a copy of the ‘as built’ model(s) would be delivered with each equipment and, at that stage, it becomes a ‘digital twin’ of the delivered entity. The digital twin can then be used in parallel with the real entity to assist with identifying any need for preventative maintenance. It can also be used to ‘look-ahead’ to predict if/how the equipment could be used best in a forthcoming engagement. This may be a new scenario and federated with other models to form a task force. In a multi-domain operation, such as required to respond to a civil disaster, the twins from all participating domains would feature in the scenarios, ideally in the same synthetic environment. Feedback & Feed-forward:- The introduction of digital twins offers a significant change to existing in-Service support as well as strategic and tactical planning. it also offers a mechanism to link learning from the in-Service usage back down the supply chain to the design stages for subsequent updates or related projects. Involvement of users at a very early stage is built-in, so their buy-in and ideas can be incorporated at cost-effective points in the lifecycle. It also promotes re-use, particularly of model components, even after the original equipment is retired. Summarising:- Adding up the amount of changes needed and the benefits, the digital approach leading to digital twins is thought to be a ‘good thing’. Initially, most benefit may be achieved in the specification, design and development stages, with post-delivery benefits being realised once a significant family of twins have emerged. So, what next? Your engagement is needed to provide the most effective transition along the Defence Digital learning curve. Please comment, add your views about the 3 aspects listed above, add more topics – there are no wrong answers and few boundaries on what will be considered. Many thanks for your time to read this and I look forward to hearing your views and experiences. Dave
  15. Welcome to all of our new members! Our numbers are getting to the level where we can have meaningful debate and exchange of ideas. So, I plan to post an article, and introduce some associated topics, so that we can share thoughts and ideas amongst ourselves and with people from other sectors. Watch this space over the next few days and find us on top bar Explore/Networks/The Defence Digital Network!!
  16. Team Defence Information (TDI) held the back-brief of the first-term’s work by their Defence Support Digital Twin Community of Practice last Wednesday (20th Oct). In addition to the keynote speaker from the MOD, there were 12 presentations, including guest speakers from Australia (talking about parallels between defence and mining applications), the USA (DoD and AIA applications) and UK’s Digital Catapult (getting started on the DT journey). The TDI work supported 7 groups, 6 of which explored aspects of the DT lifecycle from early stages to in-Service support. The 7th group mapped the landscape of DT work already underway in the defence sector. The 6-hour meeting was extremely well attended and a panel session was held at the end of the day. Several references were made to the work of the DT Hub and closer engagement will be encouraged. During the next few weeks, the groups will be holding in-depth workshops/ presentations for those with interest in specific topics. More information, and the links to attend, can be obtained from TDI – see below for contact details. Steve Green (TDI) thanked all involved and announced that the 2nd term of this 2-year program will start in January. The intent is that engagement will be as wide as possible and Steve invited anyone interested to apply to join a group; a defence background is not essential. The MOD have confirmed that senior staff will also support the work and help facilitate engagement with the appropriate stakeholders within the MOD. This project promises to make a significant contribution to all aspects of protection of UK citizens, not only in response to external threats but also improving responses to homeland natural disasters and cyber issues. The presentation material and written report will be available soon. More information can be obtained by contacting TDI – mentioning this notice about Defence Support Digital Twin Community of Practice will help provide context to your enquiry. The various contact options are available via this link https://www.teamdefence.info/contact.php. We all look forward to seeing you in the next stages of this work.
  17. For those of you interested in the route being taken to introduce DTs to the defence sector, you may be interested in this virtual meeting. The 7 workstreams in the first phase of this work will be reporting their progress on 20th October. It is expected that there will be follow-on workstreams to explore topics in more depth. So, it isn't too late to participate. To find out more follow this link to the Team Defence Information (TDI) website Defence Digital Roadmap Phase 1 Back-Brief(TDI) See you there!
  18. First, Welcome to our new members! Here are some updates that I hope you will find useful: Team Defence Information (TDI) Defence Digital Roadmap: the 7 strands of work are progressing well with around 100 participants from all sectors (not just defence) contributing. The work is still in its first phase with more to follow, including the production of demonstrators. This first phase was due to complete about now but it is going so strongly that it has been extended to ensure that all participants have chance to contribute fully and effectively. Contact TDI secretariat@teamdefence.info or +44 (0)1454 410 550 for more information The Defence and Security Accelerator program (DASA): is running its Open Call with offers typically in the range of £50K - £100K to develop ideas that are useful to them. Detection of drugs is one area of interest. The prevention of cyber attacks is another area of Interest with separate funding to £300K for technical demonstrators. View the DASA website, contact DASA by email or call 01980 950000 option 3 for more information. If you are a UK SME you may wish to visit their site to checkout their loan scheme for £250K to £1.6M. Dstl (Defence Science & Technology Laboratory): are organising a series of webinars to introduce themselves to people and organisations not already working with them. Despite their name, not all of their interests are defence related and artificial intelligence (AI) is an example. I hope this is useful and wish you success if you choose to apply for any of these offers. The defence budget is increasing and good ideas are always welcomed. So, although not guaranteed, success is probable (but you have to try!). DSEI Excel London 14-17th sept 2021: If you are missing human contact and feel the need to talk to real people and see real equipment then this Defence and Security International Exhibition is a good option for you! It is an annual event that attracts exhibitors and visitors from around the world that has been affected by Covid so it will be interesting to see how well it is attended this year. All of the big suppliers and many smaller organisations exhibit, there are presentation schemes and recruitment is always on the agenda! For more information and registration click here. I hope to meet you at one of the events. Very best regards, Dave
  19. Hi Rich, Sorry to be a bit slow in responding! You are correct, I am part of the 7 work strands in the TDI Defence Dig Twin project. I hope that the Supply Chain strand is going well. I did mean that the MOD is not currently well placed to understand what some suppliers can offer in regard to Digital Threads and Twins, however, let’s hope the TDI project, and contributions here, will change that! Cheers, Dave
  20. Hi Dave, Thanks for the reply and the welcome I wouldn't call them leads really, mostly resources for Defence and Industry. Assuming you are a member of Team Defence Information and attend one of the 7 Digital Twin work strands, as listed on the front? I recently attended the Supply Chain And Support Optimisation one, which is what I do as my day job. The problem is multi faceted. When you say the customer (MOD) doesn't recognise it? what's it? Good practice from suppliers? A lot of the industry members of team defence have digital twins in development if not already in operation. I believe the strands are to support the customer in realising, digital twin development of functional areas within MOD would help provide better outcomes for their business. I think a lot of other sectors are using and benefiting from use of digital twins, I think that goes without saying, hence why we are here. There are some constraints, but not insurmountable, but they are there none the less. I hope it isn't wasted, its an interesting sector and one I enjoy working in. They are the best people I have had the privilege to work with in my career. Rich
  21. Hi Rich, First - Welcome! Secondly, many thanks that is indeed useful. I will follow-up those leads and make sure that the relevant people in the 7 strands of the Digital Defence Roadmap are aware. The defence sector are good at modelling but DTs (even the digital thread) is not generally adopted. Some suppliers are further down the road than others, some with 'good practice' built-in. The problem is that the customer doesn't know how to recognise it and that is what we (and they) are all trying to remedy with the roadmap and other initiatives. It is extremely helpful to be able to point to another sector that is actually using and benefitting from the use of the digital thread/Twin and have resolved some of the issues that concern both the defence customer and the suppliers than have not yet adopted the techniques. Thanks again for your time to respond - it won't be wasted!! Cheers, Dave
  22. Hi Dave, Recently joined. I’m part of a Team Defence Information's Digital Twins working group, primarily Data Capture and Mapping. I can possible answer one or two questions….answer maybe too strong a word. Meta Data I believe they use Dublin Core or at least reference to it. It’s a bit sketchy. Is it used for meta data descriptions of DT's? I don't know, I’m assuming that it could be. Federated DTs We have spoken about interaction between DT's. Maybe Hierarchical. Scenario Generation: Reverse and Forward Supply Chain. Maybe. We have as in General Dynamics, modelled our Delivery Teams Supply Chain for the equipment we deliver and manage. The individual Delivery Teams contract Industry to model availability amongst other stuff....it’s part of Def Stan 00-600: ILS requirements for MOD projects. Part of contract award. Sharing Environments: Interesting. Reference DTs of buildings The Knowledge in Defence (KiD) through the Defence Gateway is a good resource. One area covers MOD establishments but nothing external, at least a do not think so. It is also, where you can get access to the relevant Def Stan’s and the Defence Logistic Framework (DLF). I believe you need Delivery Team sponsorship for access. IPR Issues: Different depending on contract type. IPR is usually agreed as part of contact award. Version Control: Is there any guidance about maintaining records of changes to DTs? Physical definitely, Digitally, I believe so, it’s at least being thought about. We have talked about “What If” scenarios using the digital. We have some good knowledge in the work group, I hope that they will join up. Happy to chat in some more generic detail. Still no thinking emoji The Team Defence Information website is a good start. Welcome to Team Defence Information - TD-Info
  23. The Defence Digital Roadmap groups are working on the tasks described in the opening message to this topic and some questions have arisen. Other sectors are ahead of Defence in their DT journeys and the group has some questions that many of you will have solved. I would appreciate any pointers please to the following information: Meta Data: 1. Is there a standard or guidelines that define the fields (for example) for meta data descriptions of DTs? 2. It is envisaged that there will be varying levels of abstraction and federation of DTs (for example construction elements, a building and a town). Is there a ‘well known’ way of describing what level a DT encapsulates and to what resolution etc.? Scenario Generation: are there any guidelines for the aspects to be considered when generating scenarios to explore responses to options that will be run on a federation? (clearly this will depend upon specific needs but, for example, there are likely to be a range of constraints due to the environment and other DTs – are there prompts for what these might be?) Sharing Environments: 1. Security forces would benefit from access to built-environments for several purposes, including responding to terrorist activities (e.g. the Ariana Grande Manchester Arena attack). How would access be gained to the built environment and DTs relevant to these needs? 2. Non visual sensors may be required, e.g. thermal cameras, how much support for such needs exist in the DTs of buildings? (or what is involved commercially for it to be added? – see IPR question below as well) IPR Issues: are there any guidelines about the level of access that a user can have? (this might range from use as-is only, to full modification access) Version Control: is there any guidance about maintaining records of changes to DTs? It should be possible to re-use what is there already and for the defence sector to feedback any work it carries out in these and other areas for mutual benefit to the whole DT community. Your responses will be welcomed if you have any knowledge, experience, or even ideas, in any of these areas.
  24. The Defence Technology & Science Laboratory (dstl) is offering £1bn over 4 years to combat threats beyond Covid. The open call is particularly aimed at those organisations and individuals who have not previously worked with dstl. There will be a supplier event “Supercharging Science” on 22 July to hear more about dstl’s plans and the opportunities will be explained. You can find out more and sign up to attend by visiting the registration site.

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