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Lockheed Martin delivers improved ALIS for F-35

Lockheed Martin has delivered the latest iteration of the system that brings fifth-generation logistics and maintenance capability to the F-35 Lightning II fleet.

The autonomic logistics information system (ALIS) version 2.0 is being tested and validated for installation at all F-35 squadron locations, beginning in 2015.An initial version of ALIS is currently operating at nine locations, and has been used to manage more than 12,000 sorties to date.

Version 2.0 entered flight testing on 1 September and will be deployed to all operational users in the first quarter of 2015. It will also support the US Marine Corps' initial operating capability, scheduled for July 2015.

The system introduces advanced fleet management for users to manage their entire fleet over the life of the aircraft. Previous ALIS versions allowed fleet management only at the squadron level.

ALIS is a “cradle to grave” maintenance and logistics management system used before and after an F-35 performs a mission, says Mary Ann Horter, vice-president of F-35 sustainment support at Lockheed Martin Mission Systems and Training. The system incorporates preventive maintenance monitoring, flight scheduling and mission planning into a single suite of software and hardware dedicated to the fifth-generation aircraft, she adds.

The latest iteration of the system includes increased download speeds of flight and maintenance data from the aircraft to ALIS. Using a portable memory device (PMD), necessary post-flight information can be extracted from the aircraft and processed in 15min: a three-fold increase in download speed, Horter says, adding:“That will really improve the turn time for the aircraft.”

ALIS 2.0 also incorporates input from users at F-35 stations like Marine Corps Air Station Yuma in Arizona, to hone the technological interfaces between ALIS and pilots and maintainers. The maintenance system is customisable to suit the needs of individual personnel or units.

Fielding of the PMD hardware, originally scheduled to coincide with the release of ALIS 2.0 next year, has been accelerated and should come online for use with existing ALIS systems by the end of September, Horter adds.

An expeditionary version of the ALIS system is in production to allow the US Navy and Marine Corps to install the system aboard ships. Hardware changes to make the system smaller, more portable and modular were needed for shipboard use. The engineering work to compact the necessary hardware has been completed. Certification testing on the expeditionary system should be complete by March 2015, with deployment in support of the USMC's initial operating capability objective.

The expeditionary version of ALIS will be deployed to all future users as the standard iteration of the system after summer 2015, Horter adds.

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