Hanwha Defense Australia and local engineering technology specialists LEAP Australia have joined forces on a ground breaking advancement that will enhance lifecycle support of the Redback Infantry Fighting Vehicle. The Redback is under consideration by the Commonwealth under an ongoing tender process for Project Land 400 Phase 3 which is an $18 billion to $27 billion project tasked to acquire up to 450 Infantry Fighting Vehicles for the Australian Defence Force.
Large vehicle fleets are complex and difficult to maintain – especially when the fleet contains several sophisticated variants from the base vehicle – and is expected to be operational for many decades. Data is one of the keys to effectively managing that complexity; data that outlines exactly the specification each vehicle was built to originally, and what maintenance, repairs or upgrades have been carried out since. Information on replacement parts and analysis of emerging wear patterns or component failures is also useful. The benefits of easy access to the complete and accurate vehicle data is simple to understand but has proven difficult to achieve in a real-world situation to date.
A breakthrough solution to this has been achieved for the Redback IFV through Hanwha’s selection of the industry-leading PTC Windchill product lifecycle management (PLM) software, supported by local technology company LEAP Australia. With support from LEAP, Hanwha has integrated the PTC Windchill PLM software to make significant progress towards the creation of a precise digital twin for each vehicle in the fleet, where the digital data-based version precisely matches the physical, operational asset.
“Having a digital twin that effectively mirrors every vehicle in a large complex fleet has been the ‘holy grail’ for engineers, maintainers and logisticians for quite a while,” said Mr Richard Cho, Managing Director of Hanwha Defense Australia, “and I am proud that our partnership between Hanwha and LEAP Australia has been able to make that break through. What the digital twin delivers in the real world is more efficient maintenance and support with less down time, and greater reliability and availability across the entire fleet. This saves money while increasing the battle readiness of military vehicles.”
“It has been a rewarding project to apply the Windchill PLM software using a combination of the efficient out-of-the-box functionality and the highly configurable role and task-based apps to help Hanwha create a single and unified digital picture for the IFV program,” said Mr Paul O’Shaughnessy, PTC Business Manager, LEAP Australia. “The amount of useful information available to enhance fleet maintenance via the digital twin is invaluable to the defence industry. This PLM solution also simplifies configuration management and lays a solid foundation for any future vehicle upgrade programs.”
With Hanwha’s PLM solution residing securely in the cloud, in the event that the Redback is selected for Land 400 Phase 3, the solution will provide constantly updated data for Redback fleet maintenance to all those who need it. Hanwha and LEAP Australia are also exploring opportunities to apply innovative new technology to enhance delivery of armoured vehicle capabilities.