F-35’s Ambitious, New Fleet Management System

By Amy Butler
Source: Aviation Week & Space Technology

Not yet on contract for SOU version 2, Lockheed Martin has been funding the work for several months. The contract is expected by the end of September.

In concert with fielding the hardware, the company is also delivering various software versions. There have been two basic software releases for ALIS. Version 1.0.2 was the initial release fielded prior to aircraft arriving for maintainer and pilot training in July 2011. It supports operational testing. “It is a federated set of capabilities, not integrated or collocated on a single server rack,” Mellon says.

Late last year, the 1.0.3 update was issued to support operations at Eglin, Nellis, Yuma AFBs and the operational testing unit at Edwards AFB. With the improved software, “you have applications inside of ALIS transferring data back and forth,” Mellon says. “[Version] 1.0.3 is when we actually start getting that electronic link to verify data and information at the unit level to the authoritative data systems” at higher levels. Reaching that point has not been easy; this version was intended for release with the Block 1 aircraft, but delays in the aircraft delivery schedule allowed more time for engineers to work on ALIS. “Actually having an integrated solution of all the capabilities was harder than we thought,” Mellon says.

With the transition, each aircraft must be updated, a process that “takes time because the data structure going from 1.0.2 to 1.0.3 is different,” he notes. Each conversion starts on a weekend and takes up to five days.

Meanwhile, Lockheed is working on two ALIS 2 versions. The first, 2.0.0, will facilitate a transition from Windows XP to Windows 7 and operate with the Block 2B aircraft; the Marine Corps will declare IOC with Block 2B aircraft.

Eventually, ALIS will integrate more engine data from the Pratt & Whitney F135s; today, a specialized Pratt laptop is used for life management functions, though ALIS is used for maintenance.

ALIS System Architecture
EquipmentNotional Beddown, LocationFunction
ALOUAutonomic Logistics Operating UnitClassified and Unclassified• 1 for global fleet at Lockheed Martin, Fort Worth• Fixed site (program office assessing addition of second ALOU)• Supports all ALIS functions• Central repository for logisitics, maintenance, mission planning, vehicle status and fleet health data
CPECentral Point of EntryClassified and Unclassified• 1 per country• Fixed site• National information aggregation • Allows nations some data flow control to and from ALOU• Provides linkage between commercial and military equipment
SOUStandard Operating UnitClassified and Unclassified• 1 per squadron• Fixed site• Unit-level data storage • Information exchange with CPE
OMS WSOffboard Mission Support Workstation• Multiple per squadron, number depends on customer preference• Fixed site• Display workstations for data stored in SOU• Supports mission planning and debriefing
PMAPortable Maintenance Aid• 2 per aircraft• Mobile units• Unclassified, ruggedized computer used by maintainers to connect to F-35 for health and maintenance data• Also used to track vehicle status, order parts, log maintenance tasks and display technical data
PCAPortable Classified Aid• 1 per aircraft• Mobile units• Classified version of the PMA
LOHASLow-Observable Health Assessment System• 1 per squadron• Mobile unit• Classified system that supports maintenance of F-35 low-observable condition and repair
Sources: Lockheed Martin and U.S. Defense Department

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