Australia expects to field a mature solution to address sovereignty concerns prompted by Lockheed Martin’s autonomic logistics information system (ALIS) by 2020, the Royal Australian Air Force’s head of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter programme tells FlightGlobal.

Australia and other F-35 partners are close to developing a system that will segregate their aircraft from the normal flow of data going to ALIS, as well as separate facilities to develop their own mission data files to protect operational sovereignty.

Lockheed’s ALIS keeps data on the fifth-generation fighter’s health monitoring systems, training and flight logs, but also functions as a global data hub that orders parts and schedules training. Following each flight, ALIS is supposed to automatically transmit information back to Lockheed’s ALIS hub in Fort Worth, Texas, which has caused concern for foreign partners who worry the automated data stream violates their sovereignty.

Each foreign F-35 partner is coming up with its own solution that will manage the flow of information between individual nations and industry, Air Vice Marshal Leigh Gordon said at the annual Dubai International Air Chiefs Conference this week.

“Ultimately, there will be a standard gateway off of the programme that we can all work with, but in the interim we’re thinking for each nation to bring a gateway along and have that integrated,” he tells FlightGlobal. “We expect the gateway will allow us to inspect and decide when information gets passed.”

While Australia plans to introduce the mature solution between its first F-35 delivery in 2018 and initial operational capability in 2020, the fielding timeline will vary by individual nation and depend on which communications networks they use, Gordon says.

A spokeswoman for the Italian air force tells FlightGlobal that by the end of this year an Italian firm will implement a hardware filter for the ALIS data traffic, followed by an enhanced software solution in 2018. The solution will automatically block messages and data the country does not wish to send, the spokeswoman says. Each partner is able to modify its JSF system to protect its sovereign data, she adds.

“Italy, in [this] specific case, wants to preserve its sovereignty on some information, avoiding any unnecessary disclosure,” she says. “In order to do so, like other partners do, Italy took some actions to grant an effective use of the weapon system, without disclosing some data that are deemed sensible.”

Italy, like other F-35 partner nations, has established a "national laboratory" in co-operation with Norway at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. The Norway Italy Reprogramming Laboratory manages mission data files in a segregated “Italian Eyes Only” environment, the spokeswoman says. Likewise Gordon says Australia is setting up a laboratory to manage its mission data files.

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