​Royal Australian Navy gets fleet data analytics tool from GE and Data61

CSIRO's Data61, in partnership with GE, has developed a data analytics solution expected to boost navy fleet performance.
Written by Asha Barbaschow, Contributor

CSIRO's Data61 and global giant GE have partnered to provide the Royal Australian Navy with a data analytics-based tool aimed at giving the Navy greater insights into their fleet engine performance, while also enhancing operational efficiency.

Under the arrangement scheduled to go live later this year, Data61's data processing application will be combined with the LM2500 gas turbines that power the Royal Australian Navy's Anzac, Adelaide, Canberra, and Hobart class vessels, supplied by GE.

The application built by Data61 will process data from GE engines captured from sensors and use analytics to identify where improvements can be made, using machine learning and advanced algorithms to predict future failures and reduce fuel burn.

According to the organisations, the data analysis is expected to highlight areas where operational efficiencies can be achieved, such as improved reliability of performance, increased uptime gained from component durability and functionality, reduced fuel consumption, and lower maintenance costs.

Data will be captured initially from two Royal Australian Navy vessels, which will then be used to help improve and manage the performance of the GE marine gas turbines used more broadly across the fleet, the organisations explained.

GE marine gas turbines are used by the Royal Australian Navy and 34 other navies around the world including the United States, New Zealand, Japan, and South Korea. Globally, more than 1,450 GE gas turbines have logged more than 15 million hours on 600 naval ships.

"This partnership is a great example of how insights from data can be used to transform existing industries like defence, where cost savings from operational efficiencies can provide significant economic gains as well as serving the national benefit," Data61 CEO Adrian Turner said.

GE Marine VP Brien Bolsinger said he can see "enormous potential" for further advanced data analytics tools to be developed in Australia that can be applied to other GE-designed military and commercial marine engines, in addition to GE's LM2500 engines.

He also noted the undertaking contributes to the Australian government's defence industry innovation objective, which is aimed at enhancing the digital capability of Australia's innovative defence industry and workforce.

The federal government recently announced a AU$730 million investment in Australia's Defence capability and innovation, launching the "Next Generation" Technologies Fund in March in a bid to thwart emerging attack methods via "creative solutions" devised by industry and academia.

Defence's Science and Technology Group (DST) will lead the research program focused on nine transformational technology areas, highlighted in the 2016 Defence White Paper, including: Cybersecurity; space capabilities; quantum technologies; autonomous systems; enhanced human performance; medical countermeasures; multi-disciplinary material sciences; integrated intelligence; surveillance and reconnaissance; and advanced sensors, hypersonics, and directed energy capabilities.

Data61 recently partnered with DST to build a Cross-Domain Desktop Compositor, a single interface powered by Data61's seL4 microkernel operating system that gives users access to multiple computer networks.

Australia's innovation agency has developed a roadmap that includes pushing the product out to the market.

Speaking with ZDNet in July, Data61's Turner said that in order for Australia to continue to grow, the country needs to create new industries and help accelerate the growth of existing industries, noting that this can only happen by embracing technology and adjusting Australia's culture.

"We've got all the ingredients, and I think the biggest handbrake on the country is cultural," Turner said.

"If we can shift that mindset, because we've got everything else -- we really do have everything else -- there's nothing that will hold us back. And I think we will, it's only going to take a handful of successes and more people in the country thinking and talking differently and it will happen very quickly."

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