The U.S. Office of Navy Research has awarded a $1.5 million Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II contract (N68335-21-C-0178) to Simba Chain to design and build a blockchain solution to enable demand sensing for the Defense Logistics Agency, the combat support and supply chain agency of the United States Department of Defense. Demand sensing is essential to ensuring the U.S. military has critical replacement parts for various weaponry available when required.
The award follows an SBIR Phase I project awarded in June 2020 during which SIMBA Chain worked with the U.S. Marine Corp to define a use case for a blockchain-based prototype to monitor the inventory and movement of physical assets at its Albany, Georgia Depot. This effort resulted in a proof of concept for a single source of truth ledger to support monitoring the inventory and movement of physical assets.
SIMBA Chain’s new contract, the ALAMEDA Project—short for Authenticity Ledger for Auditable Military Enclaved Data Access has started. SIMBA Chain will further build out the prototype developed in Phase I, working in tandem with the Naval Enterprise Sustainment Technology Team (NESTT) on a use case centered on the Boeing F/A-18 Hornet supply chain.
The project will be conducted at the Fleet Readiness Center Southeast (FRCSE) at the Naval Air Station in Jacksonville, Florida, one of eight fleet readiness centers commissioned by the U.S. Navy and one of just three that perform maintenance on the F/A-18 Hornet.
SIMBA Chain CEO Joel Neidig, who will serve as principal investigators on the project, says the Phase II award further demonstrates the power of the collaboration with the U.S. Navy. “We are very honored to work with NESTT and the FRCSE on one of the most pressing issues facing the nation today, managing and securing military supply chains and ensuring readiness to thwart cyber and physical threats. Blockchain is well suited to solve complex supply chain pain points as it enables a decentralized mechanism for the recording of non-repudiable transactions, making data both immutable and auditable, and lastly, tamper-proof once written.”
Neidig adds, “Our goal with this pilot program is to use blockchain to dramatically improve vital supply chain interactions between FRCSE and the Defense Logistics Agency to mitigate against disruption, issues, and threats to engineering and maintenance operations. Our hope is it becomes a model across the Navy and other branches of the U.S. military.”
Steve McKee, NAVSEA program manager and lead for the NESTT, says the mission of the NESTT is to align system improvements across the Navy and Marine Corps that improve readiness. “In 2020, the Department of the Navy’s SBIR Program allocated over $30 million to help the advance innovations to improve readiness. This blockchain project with SIMBA Chain exemplifies the role of technology in revitalizing not just our military facilities, but our systems as well. Pilot projects like this one with the Fleet Readiness Center in Jacksonville drive both innovation, and ultimately positive outcomes,” he said.
Joining SIMBA Chain in the ALAMEDA Project as a subcontractor is the University of Notre Dame. SIMBA Chain’s chief technology officer, Ian Taylor, a member of Notre Dame’s computing research faculty, will serve as the University’s principal investigator on the project. Taylor is widely recognized as a global thought leader in blockchain.
Over the last two years, SIMBA Chain has been awarded and successfully completed multiple contracts with DARPA, the U.S. Department of Energy and U.S. Department of Defense.