Defense company Thales implements blockchain solution for supply chains

Tracking supply chains with the help of blockchain technology has already proven itself in countless sectors and industries. However, there are few areas in which protection against counterfeiting is as important as in military technology. The arms company Thales has now recognized this.

The defense company Thales will increasingly rely on digitalization in production. The French company gave the commissioning of a factoryknown in Spain, which should meet the requirements of Industry 4.0. Blockchain and Big Data are the key technologies in the digital transformation of the production and maintenance center.

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With such a step, Thales hopes to initially obtain an improved database that will contribute to increasing production quality as well as faster manufacturing and repairs. The blockchain technology is used to track supply chains.

Supply chain tracking ensures compliance

Thales states that it wants to track the supply chains of all parts and products that are used or manufactured in the production and maintenance center. Blockchain tracking protects production from counterfeiting and manipulation.

This is intended to comply with the guidelines of NATO and other military partners. Products using this “advanced management system” include a radio communication system as well as aviation and marine equipment.

The announcement does not mention which blockchain is used in the tracking solution. However, press reports suggest that Thales’ security modules support Hyperledger Fabric and Ethereum. They refer to the technical documentation of the armaments company.

In fact, Thales announced a corresponding blockchain solution two years ago. Together with Accenture, the company presented a prototype at a British air show in 2018. The tracking system presented there also used the Internet of Things in addition to Hyperledger Fabric.

A study by Accenture from the same year found that by 2021, a full 86 percent of the aerospace and defense industry will be using blockchain technology. John Schmidt, who is responsible for this industry at Accenture, said at the time:

Blockchain technology offers a new, elegant and secure way for the industry to track and detect myriad components while preventing counterfeiting and improving maintenance options. Combined with technologies like digital twins and digital threads, blockchain technology could ultimately represent a game-changing innovation for this sector.