DIU brings predictive maintenance to the Navy


The Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) of the United States Navy will be adopting artificial intelligence-fuelled technology that already keeps aircraft and ground vehicles running smoothly.

Mike Madsen, DIU Director of Strategic Engagement, said at the Dell Technologies Forum on Real Transformation in September that the organisation was discussing expanding its predictive maintenance efforts to the Navy.

“We are in discussions with the Navy right now, very advanced discussions with senior leadership, and expect to award a contract in fiscal 2020,” Mike said following the event. DIU, which can award other transaction authorities, is also working on predictive maintenance across the US Air Force and with the US Army’s legacy Bradley Fighting Vehicle fleet.

Predictive maintenance is one of DIU’s several ‘transformative projects’ that it hopes to scale to other platforms across the US Department of Defense (DoD) and services. Along with the predictive maintenance expansion in 2020, DIU plans to take a deeper look at why certain programmes failed to cross over into programmes of record.

Since its founding, DIU has 57 overall projects and 25 that are complete. Eight of these completed projects have transitioned to programmes of record, 11 are eligible to transition and six are concluded.

Mike explained how it was okay that six projects failed to thrive at the DoD, “because if we were transitioning 100%, we would not be trying hard enough, we would not be taking enough risk.”

Mike named budget issues as an impediment, stating that DoD customers not having the funds or mistiming projects with budget process can delay technological advancement.

“That’s problematic for us from a tech perspective because [with] technology, there’s a shelf-life,” he said. “So if we have to wait for a budget cycle, that technology is already last generation.”