U.S. Air Force, Navy Approve Latest F-35 Logistics Software

 - May 1, 2017, 11:55 AM
A U.S. Air Force maintainer uses a terminal for the ALIS maintenance and logistics system. (Photo: Lockheed Martin)

Lockheed Martin announced U.S. Air Force and Navy approval of the latest iteration of F-35 maintenance system software, which integrates data from the fighter’s Pratt & Whitney F135 engine. The manufacturer expects U.S. Marine Corps approval to field the software within six weeks.

Autonomic Logistics Information System (ALIS) version 2.0.2 software will be installed at all operational F-35 bases by the end of the year, Lockheed Martin said April 26. The update was originally timed for completion when the Air Force declared initial operational capability (IOC) of the F-35A last August.

ALIS serves as an information technology backbone that captures and analyzes aircraft condition data from the F-35 to support maintenance, fault-prediction and supply chain management of parts. While the system supports all three variants of the fighter, the Marine Corps’ F-35B short takeoff and vertical landing variant, powered by the F135-PW-600 engine coupled with a Rolls-Royce lift fan system, requires a unique update. The Marines were the first U.S. service to declare IOC of their variant in July 2015. Plans call for the Navy to make that declaration for the F-35C next year.

Lockheed Martin has committed to providing ALIS Version 3.0, the final iteration of maintenance software planned for the F-35 system development and demonstration (SDD) phase, with the completion of SDD. Originally, the fighter’s development phase was to conclude this year, but that has been extended into 2018.

In addition to integrating propulsion system data, ALIS Version 2.0.2 includes a networking feature to more easily connect home stations with deployed locations, according to Lockheed Martin. The software upgrade “has performed well” in supporting F-35 operations at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, since March 22, the manufacturer said.

“This upgrade will allow deploying units to predict ‘what if’ scenarios inside ALIS, removing most of the manual planning that is done today,” said Reeves Valentine, Lockheed Martin vice president of F-35 Logistics. “ALIS 2.0.2 will allow users to forecast and make those decisions. Picking the best jets, support equipment, spare parts and personnel for the deployment and managing resources throughout their lifecycle—that type of data should ultimately translate to better aircraft availability.”