Rolls-Royce Developing Revolutionary Digital System to Improve U.S. Air Force Air Refueling Efficiency, Reduce Cost

Rolls-Royce Developing Revolutionary Digital System to Improve U.S. Air Force Air Refueling Efficiency, Reduce Cost

Rolls-Royce North America has been awarded a U.S. Transportation Command contract for the demonstration and continued development of a revolutionary new software system that will maximize efficiency in managing air refueling assets, improving mission availability and reducing cost for the U.S. Air Force.

The Rolls-Royce Air Refueling Optimization and Planning System, or AROPS, is part of the new suite of digital services known as TwinAlytix from Rolls-Royce Defense. TwinAlytix features the benefits of digital twins and digital analytics to improve customer services through advanced, secure software applications.

The AROPS software package contract, valued at $800,000, is intended to increase air tanker availability and eliminate inefficiencies caused by disconnected systems and process challenges within a highly complex air refueling enterprise. Working with our partners at Applied Aeronautical Systems Inc. (AASI), Rolls-Royce has developed and continues to improve on a solution to make the overall air refueling enterprise more effective and efficient, which could lead to millions of dollars in cost savings and a reduced environmental impact.

Additionally, the Rolls-Royce and AASI team’s concept of creating an Operational Process Digital Twin (OPDT) of the USAF’s air refueling enterprise became the first Rolls-Royce submittal to advance to both Phase 2 and Phase 3 of an AFWERX challenge (Reimagining Energy). The OPDT will allow the USAF to plan future air refueling requirements ahead of actual deployments, providing multiple courses of action in a low-risk/low-cost environment to best serve its missions.

Darryl Roberson, Rolls-Royce Defense, Senior Vice President, Business Development, said, “The new AROPS software package will lead to significant improvements in the entire U.S. Air Force air refueling enterprise. Rolls-Royce is proud to be leading the way in the aerospace industry in digital advancements with our new TwinAlytix® suite of offerings. We are focused on removing complexities and transforming operations for our customers.”

The AROPS development activity includes an expansive team joining Rolls-Royce, the USTRANSCOM, Operations Directorate’s Air Refueling Branch (J38-R), Air Mobility Command (AMC), the 618th Air Operations Center, and other major commands, to modernize air-refueling management for the Department of Defense.

In addition to the AROPS platform, the TwinAlytix digital suite includes Virtual Reality Training, already fielded in the Air Force; Foreign Object Debris (FOD) Prevention Services, already in operation in the U.S. Marine Corps; Asset Management Protection Service; TP400 Tip Clearance; Enterprise Modelling Services; and Remote FSR Service, with more offerings to come.

Rolls-Royce has recently completed a $600 million investment in advanced manufacturing facilities and technology in Indianapolis, Indiana in the U. S. transforming manufacturing capabilities. The revitalized facilities are highly efficient and will improve competitiveness in an increasingly contested marketplace for propulsion and power solutions. The modernized and digitized facilities have already significantly improved energy efficiency and the company says it is helping them become net-zero in carbon use in operations by 2030.

Rolls-Royce Indianapolis primarily serves U.S. military customers, manufacturing engines and components for the C-130J and C-130H Hercules, V-22 Osprey, Global Hawk and Triton, E-2 Hawkeye, F-35B Lightning II, and other military aircraft. The site also produces engines and power components for the U.S. Navy, industrial power generation, commercial aircraft, and helicopter customers. See our related feature story about fuel management and efficiencies applications see page 98.

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