Bottom Line Up Front: It’s not just equipment and vehicles that will get high-fidelity computer models, military bases will too.
What Is “Digital Twin,” again?
Think of a Digital Twin as a super accurate computer simulation of something. You can simulate airplanes, helicopters, ships, and other equipment. Then, you can use this highly accurate simulation to develop upgrades, new equipment, run it through its paces, simulate performance, and even test how software will perform before it’s loaded on the real thing.
The DoD wants these “Digital Twins” because it allows proposed upgrades and developments to be tested very accurately before they’re ever built. Say, for example, how will a new navigation instrument perform in a helicopter? Test it out in the computer simulation before you start soldering chips and capacitors together. And if the new gizmo will cause trouble, you can discover the malfunction years before it gets plugged into a real helicopter.
Digital Twins for Military Bases
Interestingly, the Air Force wants to build Digital Twins of its installations too. Buildings, roads, electrical systems, communication antenna; they want a highly accurate computer model of the entire base so they can test new stuff on it.
In 2018, Tyndall Air Force Base was basically destroyed by Hurricane Michael, a Category 5. When the Air Force began rebuilding it, they decided to build it back better than ever; rebuilding it from the ground up as an “Installation of the Future.” Tyndall is the flagship testbed of all the new technology the Air Force wants: 5G high speed comms, cloud, and a heap of other futuristic tech that the Digital Transformation will bring.
That is where the Digital Twin comes in. As the futuristic new technology is developed, the Air Force wants to test it and refine it with computer simulations first. That way, everything can be vetted and optimized before anyone starts building anything.
What does it mean for me?
Do you have Digital Twins of your stuff? If not, it’s a good idea to get started.