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Thread: 2018 F-35 News and Discussion

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    2018 F-35 News and Discussion

    India interested in F-35A and asks for a briefing.

    In what would be a huge capability jump, the Indian Air Force (IAF) is increasingly interested in procuring the American F-35 Lightning II for its depleting fighter fleet. Business Standard learns the IAF top brass is formally requesting for a classified briefing by the F-35’s prime builder, Lockheed Martin, on the capabilities of the sophisticated, fifth-generation fighter developed under the US Joint Strike Fighter programme.
    http://www.business-standard.com/art...1401246_1.html
    "The early bird gets the worm but the second mouse gets the cheese."

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    ANALYSIS: How F-16I loss will reshape Israel's offensive strategy

    A sequence of events that began with the shooting down of an Iranian copy of the Lockheed Martin RQ-170 Sentinel stealth unmanned air vehicle led to an Israeli air force Lockheed F-16I being shot down, and a massive aerial attack being launched against at least a dozen targets inside Syria.

    Brig Gen Tomer Bar, second in command of the Israeli air force, says the Israeli strike inside Syria was "the biggest and most significant attack the air force has conducted against Syrian air defences" since the 1982 Lebanon War.

    ...

    One consequence of the military action could be to strengthen the air force's calls to acquire more advanced Boeing F-15s and additional Lockheed F-35Is.
    https://www.flightglobal.com/news/ar...-offen-445921/
    "The early bird gets the worm but the second mouse gets the cheese."

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    News from Belgium

    Belgium: Government not obliged to choose between F-35 and Eurofighter to succeed F-16

    The Belgian government will, on Wednesday, know “best and final offers” from the suppliers for the American F-35 and the European Eurofighter.
    The government must choose the successor to the antiquated Belgian F-16s. The selection panel will not be obliged to simply choose between the two offers. The point was stressed by the MR deputy, Richard Miller, on Bel RTL today.

    Mr Miller said, “If either of the two do not meet the criteria for the best value for money, we could still consider other offers such as the Rafale (by the French aircraft manufacturer Dassault), or other aircraft manufacturers such as the Swedish Saab (the Gripen range of fighter aircraft).” He added, “We are not simply obliged to choose between the F-35 and European Eurofighter.”

    Today is the deadline for submission of “best and final offers” by the suppliers for the American F-35 and European Eurofighter. France has confirmed that it did not respond to the tender procedure launched last March by the Belgian Minister for Defence for 34 new combat planes, a state-to-state transaction for an initial sum of €3.6 billion. The French government considers that it has more to offer than was explicitly expressed in the tender documents, which it feels were too restricted, and advances the idea of a “deep and structured partnership”, as part of stimulating the European Defence programme.

    The candidates are all offering significant economic benefits for Belgium, in the event of the government choosing their given model.

    Christopher Vincent
    The Brussels Times
    http://www.brusselstimes.com/belgium...o-succeed-f-16
    "The early bird gets the worm but the second mouse gets the cheese."

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    Dassault, Safran and the team of contractor behind the Rafale signed numerous agreement on the last day in various domain to put the Industrial partnership value at around 1b$ per year during the next 20 years (fleet sustainement, parts production, R&D and new technologies).

    "They cover a wide range of fields, from the maintenance of the Rafale fighter aircraft, to the training of aeronautical engineers, to participation in drone projects, the automation of production lines, the additive manufacturing, predictive maintenance, simulation, research into advanced materials and Smart City projects ", said Dassault in a statement.
    Regarding the more formal RFP, early results are expected before mid-July The Belgian gov then will take the final decision.

    SudInfo.be offers a brief summary of all the different Industrial offer (here - in Fr)
    The various agreements around the F-35 offer depict a serious level in industrial technologies related to aerospace part manufacturing; a domain where the Belgian industry offer a competitive edge.
    Last edited by TomcatViP; 14th February 2018 at 23:21.

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    Air Force Completes Round of Cold-weather Tests on 3 Versions of F-35s at Eielson

    F-35 finish's up another round of testing up north.

    The Air Force has completed another round of cold-weather testing on the F-35A that’s been undergoing a series of tests at Eielson Air Force Base soon after it arrived in October. The testing on three versions of the F-35 was part of preparations for basing two squadrons of the warplane at Eielson beginning in 2020.

    ...

    “Our objective essentially was to take the F-35 up to cold environment – which, that definitely qualified as being a cold environment, probably colder than I’ve ever seen. And we were able to collect as much data as possible,” says Col. Michael Starr, who commands the Air Force Operational Test and Evaluation Center’s 1st Detachment out of Edwards Air Force Base.

    Starr said in an interview Tuesday the testing that began in mid-January and wrapped last week mainly involved checking out how the aircraft handled the cold during routine functions.

    “The main goal, main objective of the test was to see how the aircraft performed – not just start, taxiing and takeoff,” he said, “but also, once we got to the range, how it’s going to perform in certain mission sets.”

    Those mission sets included carrying out simulated combat scenarios. Starr says testing personnel also gained important knowledge by just pulling maintenance on the advanced fighter.

    “It (testing) also included a heavy workload by maintenance,” he said. “A lot of folks were out there in the cold weather evaluating what it was like to do things on the aircraft required for normal operation.”

    More at the jump

    http://fm.kuac.org/post/air-force-co...-f-35s-eielson
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    The USAF in the PB19 anticipates IOT&E to wrap up by the end of Q1 FY20 which would be the end of 2019. This as usual (just like how the OSD funded the JPO's SDD through May, 2018 as part of FY18 request) has some margin built in.
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    Old radar types never die; they just phased array

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    Courtesy Yamomomo1999
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    Last edited by bring_it_on; 16th February 2018 at 02:10.
    Old radar types never die; they just phased array

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    15 Extended Range - AARGM rounds to be procured in FY19 for EMD, Dev. and Operational Test and Evaluation. OE to begin in Q4 2020, while IOT&E in 2022. Low Rate Production set to begin in 2022. JSM, Meteor, Spear3, SOM-J, SDBII, AARGM-ER and SiAW all new weapons waiting in line for F-35 integration in the early-mid 2020s. Majority of these would be developed to be compatible with UAI.
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    Last edited by bring_it_on; 16th February 2018 at 14:09.
    Old radar types never die; they just phased array

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    India interested in F-35A and asks for a briefing.
    This has been reported in various places however AFAIK they all point back to the orginial report from Aja Shukla. In an Indian forum people are questioning the vericaty of that report, and suggest it should be independently verified. Aja has a "mixed reputation".

    No doubt the IAF would love having the F-35 in the inventory, the question is if the political landscape has changed sufficiently to allow this to become a real opportunity.

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    This has been reported in various places however AFAIK they all point back to the orginial report from Aja Shukla.
    Shukla is one of the more pro-western ties defense journalists, and therefore gets grief from those who want Russo-India defense ties to continue.

    Shiv Aroor hasn't reported anything on this. Regardless of whether or not it's true that they requested a briefing, that a long way from a contract.
    Just don't see much chance of this happening: India would have to drop the FGFA, L-M would have to meet India's offset requirements and "Make in India" initiative, US Congress would have to agree (and there could be considerable opposition), this would be a tough sell in India's Parliament too.
    Last edited by FBW; 16th February 2018 at 14:30.

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    If they ever do seriously consider the F-35.. it should really be the B. it's the only viable mig-29 replacement to take off from their baby carriers.

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    Ajai Shukla was denied a backseat flight on Rafale during MMRCA. He is n°1 Rafale baser eversince.

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    While one can accuse a journalist from bashing a certain system because he/she was not given access to it, it is an entirely different matter to use that as an excuse for accusing the journalist of risking his/her credibility by attributing interest in a completely different weapon system by fabricating sources especially when there is a similar report out from a different media outlet which does not appear to be connected to this guy. Was that journalist also denied a backseat ride on the Rafale?

    @FBW, Regarding the overall prospects of this materializing, I'm not so sure either. All I can say is that the F-35 stands a good chance of still being in production by the time the Indian Air Force places an order (if these reports are to be believed and if these things advance). Current production is expected to go through the mid to late 2030s so plenty of time even for the slowest acquisition bureaucracies out there.
    Last edited by bring_it_on; 16th February 2018 at 16:28.
    Old radar types never die; they just phased array

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    Quote Originally Posted by Loke
    This has been reported in various places however AFAIK they all point back to the orginial report from Aja Shukla.
    Uhh.. no. This was first reported by Saurabh Joshi last month.

    IAF mulls F-35 order
    The Indian Air Force (IAF) is considering the possibility of an order for the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter, according to sources in the Ministry of Defence. With deliberations at an early stage, it is understood the IAF will be writing to ask for more information on the fifth generation fighter.


    Then Vivek Lall, VP, Lockheed Martin (point person for LM's India campaign) inadvertently let a little something slip while doing a boilerplate interview about their F-16 pitch -

    The F-16 Block 70 has been termed as old technology that LM is pushing hard for the IAF — what do you plan to do to take the discussions forward, especially as the IAF, to mitigate the shortfall of fighters, is acquiring the indigenous ‘Tejas’ Light Combat Aircraft (LCA)?

    The F-16 Block 70 being offered specifically to India is uniquely the best state-of-the-art fighter. No other advanced fourth-generation platform even comes close to matching the record of real-world combat experience and proven operational effectiveness. The India-specific state-of-the-art fighter on offer and its programme’s size, scope and success enables Indian industry to take advantage of unprecedented manufacturing, upgrade and sustainment opportunities well into the future. As you are aware, the IAF is keen on the F-35 and is also not keen on single-engine aircraft… Many of the systems used on the India-specific platform are derived from key lessons learned and technologies from Lockheed Martin’s F-22 and the F-35, the world’s only operational fifth-generation fighters. It is important to note that all three variants of the F-35 are single-engine aircraft.


    And then Ajai Shukla's article was published yesterday -

    Capability jump: IAF looks to buy fifth-generation F-35 fighter
    In what would be a huge capability jump, the Indian Air Force (IAF) is increasingly interested in procuring the American F-35 Lightning II for its depleting fighter fleet.

    Business Standard learns the IAF top brass is formally requesting for a classified briefing by the F-35’s prime builder, Lockheed Martin, on the capabilities of the sophisticated, fifth-generation fighter developed under the US Joint Strike Fighter programme.
    For Lockheed Martin, an Indian request for the F-35 would create a dilemma. The US company would rather have the IAF buy the F-16 Block 70, which it has offered to build in India in partnership with Tata Advanced Systems Ltd (TASL).

    For Lockheed Martin, that would keep alive the F-16 assembly line, which has long functioned from Fort Worth, Texas, and has now moved temporarily to Greenville, South Carolina, where it is building a $2.8 billion order from Bahrain for 19 F-16V fighters.
    Last edited by Vnomad; 16th February 2018 at 18:23.

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    and is also not keen on single-engine aircraft
    Given their experience with Russian single-engine fighters, do you blame them
    "The early bird gets the worm but the second mouse gets the cheese."

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    Given their experience with Russian single-engine fighters, do you blame them
    To be fair, their Flankers aren't always single-engine fighters.

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    Please, lets stick to F-35 related discussions here.
    Old radar types never die; they just phased array

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    U.S. Navy To Test F-35 With Aegis At Sea

    The USN is preparing another F-35 guided SAM launch.

    SINGAPORE—The U.S. Navy hopes to further validate the Lockheed Martin F-35’s performance as an airborne sensor for air and missile defense in an upcoming Aegis sea trial.

    Sometime between June and August, the Navy will attempt to use tracking data from an F-35 to shoot down an air-breathing target drone with a Raytheon Standard Missile-6 (SM-6) interceptor fired from an Aegis ship in the Pacific Ocean.

    Steve Over, Lockheed’s director of F-35 international business development, says the at-sea demonstration will be a follow-on to a September 2016 test involving a Marine Corps F-35B and the USS Desert Ship at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico. In that trial, targeting data from the F-35B was used to successfully intercept an MQM-107 Streaker target drone with an SM-6.

    At the time, the government wanted to preserve the MQM-107 for reuse, but the test proved to be so successful that the radar-guided SM-6 destroyed it on impact. The SM-6’s fuse had been replaced with a telemetry kit to measure its final proximity to the target rather than explode, but it struck the MQM-107 target anyway.

    “The Navy got very excited when we did this successful test that they’re planning the next test now,” Over said during an interview at the Singapore Airshow here Feb. 4. “They plan to do a live-fire exercise out in the Pacific this summer [Northern Hemisphere].”

    The key to these tests is enabling the Aegis Combat System to receive information from the Joint Strike Fighter’s Multifunction Advanced Data Link (MADL). This data link has a low probability of detection by passing information through a narrow, directional beam that is extremely difficult to intercept.

    Over says last November the Navy outfitted one of its San Diego-based Aegis destroyers with a MADL receiver in preparation for the upcoming test. With this modification, the ship can receive targeting information directly from the F-35.

    The purpose of this at-sea demonstration is to show how the F-35’s advanced Northrop Grumman-built infrared distributed aperture system (DAS); active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar; and fusion algorithms can support air and missile defense as part of a networked “kill web” architecture.

    The F-35’s six-camera electro-optical/infrared Northrop AAQ-37 DAS enables the pilot to look through the skin of the aircraft and see incoming air and missile threats at great distances. DAS’s full capability became apparent in 2010 when an F-35 flying near Washington, D.C., detected a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launch at Cape Canaveral almost 800 nm (1,482 km) away.

    Two networked DAS systems can be linked together to generate a three-dimensional target track, or it can simply cue the F-35’s Northrop APG-81 AESA fire control radar, if within range, to get an even better track.

    This targeting information can then be passed via MADL to any “shooter” capable of intercepting the target through kinetic or electromagnetic means. This could include the U.S.’s Aegis, Patriot or Thaad missile systems.

    Flying at 30,000 ft., the F-35 can see farther than any land- or sea-based sensors. In the September 2016 test, the MQM-107 was replicating a subsonic cruise missile flying low behind a mountain range and it could not have been seen without the F-35B.

    “Aegis didn’t even have its radar turned on,” Over notes. “It couldn’t have even seen the target drone because of the mountain range.”

    Over says the F-35B provided an initial target location as well as midcourse guidance updates to the SM-6. He says SM-6 is an “enormous missile” that could not possibly be carried by a typical fighter aircraft, so linking F-35 and Aegis allows the F-35 to kill a wider variety of targets without even firing a single shot.

    “This is a logical evolution of the capability of the airplane,” Over says. “It just requires software and the right communications link.”

    John Montgomery, Northrop’s fifth-generation improvements and derivatives program manager, says the distributed aperture system ensures that no airborne missile can sneak up on the F-35. Northrop has been exploring ways to employ DAS for air and missile defense for several years. This capability was successfully demonstrated during a test designated FTX-20 on Oct. 16, 2014.

    During that trial in Hawaii, a ground-based DAS and one carried aboard a Gulfstream testbed aircraft were able to establish a three-dimensional target track of a medium-range, surface-to-surface ballistic missile.

    “This weapon system is going to evolve to do things legacy fighter airplanes could have never even thought about,” Over says.

    http://aviationweek.com/awindefense/...f-35-aegis-sea
    "The early bird gets the worm but the second mouse gets the cheese."

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    Wondering what is revolutionary in it. Uk use to do that for years with pirate and type 45

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    Wondering what is revolutionary in it. Uk use to do that for years with pirate and type 45
    No one said it was "revolutionary", neither Spud, neither the text.

    Cheers

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    True.

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    Wondering what is revolutionary in it. Uk use to do that for years with pirate and type 45
    Halloweene, instead of imagining that others are claiming something they are not, how about you do us all here a favor and provide a write up on the two capabilities you mention, how they are similar and how they differ? Otherwise, it would appear your aim is nothing more but to troll.

    A write up on how NIFC-CA as a concept is different or similar to other approaches would be welcomed especially if you get into the qualitative piece of composite tracks and the challenging in establishing them using disparate fire control sensors.

    So please, go ahead and lay out what the Type-45 and Pirate do, and how they do it and how many live OTH test intercepts the Type-45 has achieved using any interceptor. Specific to ABL-9.0, and the SM6 the missile, software and the aircraft have had multiple intercepts now to demonstrate OTH capability against targets the AEGIS cannot see. They do this by providing Fire-Control level tracks to the AEGIS radar even when the target is not in its FOV. SM2 and ESSM-II will likely also get this beyond just the SM6 which is an operational weapon with operational OTH capability. The F-35B did this earlier on the Desert Ship and this attempt will be out at sea. Other platforms have done the same. The capability will also move to land soon, and specific to the F-35, they may expand and bring in other sensors such as EODAS and EOTS over time.
    Last edited by bring_it_on; 20th February 2018 at 12:51.
    Old radar types never die; they just phased array

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    Denmark positions F-35 funds



    The Danish Central Bank has completed the hedging of payments of USD3.7 billion so that the department of defence is able to acquire the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter at fixed price in its local currency.

    Copenhagen agreed in 2016 to acquire 27 conventional take-off and landing F-35A variants of the fighter to replace its incumbent F-16 fleet, and has hedged the dollars so that they are available at a fixed price when they are needed.

    This process commenced at the beginning of 2018, the bank said, and has now been completed.

    “The process of entering into forwards, which ensure a fixed price of dollars when the government needs them has been smooth,” Frank Nielsen, assistant governor of the bank, said.
    Old radar types never die; they just phased array

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    Successful F-35 drag chute test in Norway


    While The US Air Force is completing another round of cold-weather testing of the F-35A at Eielson Air Force Base in Alaska, Norway completed a successful verification of the drag chute system at Ørland Air Force Base in Norway February 16th.

    − Receiving the first three aircraft in November 2017 was a major milestone for Norway. The program delivers on all key criteria: Time, cost and performance. Through the verification of the production version of the drag chute on our production model of the F-35, the weapons system is expected to fully qualify for arctic conditions this spring, says Major General Morten Klever, Program Director for the F-35 program in Norway's Ministry of Defence.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q5aPvJakASc

    Old radar types never die; they just phased array

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    Exclusive: Japan to buy at least 20 more F-35A stealth fighters - sources

    TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan plans to buy at least 20 additional F-35A stealth fighters over the next six years, some or all of which it may purchase directly from Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT.N) in the United States rather than assemble locally, three sources said.

    “In view of budgets and production schedules a new acquisition of around 25 planes is appropriate,” said one of the sources with knowledge of the plan. The sources asked not to be identified because they are not authorized to speak to the media.

    The sources said buying complete aircraft from the United States, at about $100 million each, will save Japan about $30 million per airframe.

    The purchase will add to an earlier order for 42 of the fighters, most of which are being constructed at a “final assembly and check out” plant in Japan operated by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (7011.T), the country’s leading defense contractor.

    That plant is one of only two such factories outside the United States. The other, in Italy, is operated by Leonardo Spa (LDOF.MI).

    As China fields ever more advanced aircraft, including stealth planes, and as North Korea pushes ahead with its nuclear weapon and ballistic missile programs, adding F-35s will further increase Japan’s reliance on U.S. military technology to give it an edge over potential foes in East Asia.

    Japanese military planners are also considering buying F-35Bs, the vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) version of the aircraft. Those models can operate from small islands skirting the East China Sea or from ships such as the Izumo-class helicopter carriers.

    “We have not yet made any plan and we are evaluating what fighter aircraft we need,” Itsunori Onodera said at a news briefing on Tuesday when asked whether Japan planned to buy more F-35s.

    Onodera’s ministry will release two defense reviews by the end of the year that will outline Japan’s security goals and military procurement plans for the five years beginning in April 2019.

    The first of the 42 F-35As ordered by Japan’s Air Self Defence Force (ASDF) are being deployed to Misawa Air Base in northern Japan. Japanese government officials and Lockheed Martin executives are set to attend a ceremony there on Saturday to mark the entry of the first Japanese F-35 into service.

    The F-35 accounts for about a quarter of Lockheed Martin’s total revenue. The company is hiring 1,800 workers for its Fort Worth, Texas, factory to build a fleet that is expected to grow to more than 3,000 jets worldwide. Lockheed Martin is scheduled to nearly triple annual production to more than 160 jets by 2023.

    The first Japanese F-35s will replace aging F-4 Phantom fighters that date back to 1960s. The next batch will allow Japan to retire some of the aging 200 F-15s flown by the ASDF that are the main interceptor workhorse of the nation’s air defenses.

    Japan also wants to build its own stealth fighter, dubbed the F-3, although the high cost of military aircraft development means it will probably need to find foreign partners to share the expense.

    Reporting by Tim KellyEditing by Gerry Doyle

    Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-j...-idUSKCN1G507W
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    I wonder if this extra, fast-track, cheaper order is to fill a gap which is developing as the Anglo/Japanese super fighter is being defined?

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    Or.. It could be for F-35Bs which the FACO is not setup to produce.
    "The early bird gets the worm but the second mouse gets the cheese."

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    Cheaper than the FACO and at 100M$... can only be a "A" .

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    well.. latest F-35B price is about $100 mil (rec Flyaway), but you are likely right on the "A".
    "The early bird gets the worm but the second mouse gets the cheese."

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    ALIS 3.0 Testing Complete But Improvements Are Slow

    ALIS 3.0 Testing Complete But Improvements Are Slow
    2/21/2018
    —JOHN A. TIRPAK

    The F-35’s Autonomic Logistics Integration System, or ALIS, completed operational testing on Feb. 19 and fielded units will be updated with this version on a priority basis, based on which units have the most pressing need, Lockheed Martin Vice President and General Manager for Training and Logistics Solutions Amy Gowder told reporters Feb. 21.

    Speaking at the unit’s Orlando, Fla., facility, Gowder confirmed that ALIS 3.0 had completed “flight testing” at Nellis AFB, Nev., although this is an in-house company term and the system does not actually fly.

    ALIS is a series of mobile servers mounted in two vertical racks—one classified and one not—that gathers and processes the flight experience of all the F-35 jets in a squadron, automatically ordering parts and maintenance actions as required. The 13 or so servers are transportable and go with the unit when it deploys. Lockheed and its F-35 military customers are looking at a somewhat smaller system that could deploy with a detachment of, say, six jets, as the Air Force has said it will be doing more frequently.

    A team of installers travels to F-35 operating locations and updates ALIS hardware over a weekend, when missions are typically not flown, Gowder explained. Units receiving the update first will be those that are operational and flying real-world missions, followed by those doing training.

    Despite it being the most up-to-date version of the logistics system, Gowder said Lockheed recognizes it must improve ALIS 3.0, as one of the major elements in its sustainment cost reduction efforts.

    “One area [that] we do know” needs improvement is in the number of ALIS administrators, Gowder acknowledged. There are eight needed per squadron, and that must come down, she said, because manpower is a “key driver” of sustainment costs. Future versions will be more centralized to reduce the number of people needed to feed and maintain aircraft information.

    She said the company is also looking to improve “usability liability” issues, which means that some ALIS functions actually take longer to perform than they do in legacy logistics systems. The Joint Program Office is allowing Lockheed to “roll in fixes” to both earlier versions and 3.0 to “improve usability.”

    Another area slow to pay off is in automated test. ALIS performs this function at the unit part level, but not yet for the overall system, which Gowder said is “where the big bang for the buck is.”

    The company and JPO are deeply into discussions about version 4.0, which was originally slated to be released in 2019, but Gowder suggested that target won’t be met, because of new requirements being added and the differing needs of international users.

    “We may choose to defer some nice-to-have” features from 4.0 to accelerate more urgently needed improvements, such as cybersecurity, she noted. The focus will continue to be on “quality data integrity,” Gowder noted. The propulsion system—the F135 engine and its performance and parts—was added to ALIS in 2017, greatly expanding the amount of data it amasses and tracks. The company is trying to make sure that flaws from “legacy” logistics systems don’t migrate into ALIS when data is ported over to it.

    Gowder asserted that the release of 3.0 fixes some of the problems that have led to F-35 sustainment costs taking too long to come down, and as it spreads throughout the fleet in 2018, “I think you’ll see a big improvement” in sustainability this year, she predicted. With a further update in 2019, more progress should be made, she added.
    http://www.airforcemag.com/Features/...-Are-Slow.aspx
    "The early bird gets the worm but the second mouse gets the cheese."

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