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Lockheed to build ALIS data transfer controls for F-35’s foreign customers

Lockheed Martin received a $26.1 million contract to develop data transmission controls for foreign customers of the F-35 and its autonomic logistics information system (ALIS).

International development partners and foreign customers of the F-35 have expressed concern that ALIS, which manages and analyses the fighter’s systems, training and flight logs, would automatically transmit information back to Lockheed’s hub in Fort Worth, Texas, possibly giving the company and the USA insight into their military operations.

“This effort provides F-35 international partners the capability to review and block messages to prevent sovereign data loss,” says the contract notice online. “Additionally, the effort includes studies and recommendations to improve the security architecture of ALIS.”

Previously, international development partners and foreign customers of the F-35 had programmed short-term software patches for ALIS that allowed them to control what data was sent back to the USA.

Data that F-35 foreign operators could block include the names of pilots, aircraft location and aircraft availability, according the F-35 Joint Program Office.

"All data designed to come back to Lockheed Martin to improve sustainment for the fleet will continue to flow through ALIS except for items each sovereign partner decides not to share," added Lockheed Martin. "The data we receive via ALIS allows Lockheed Martin to make air system and sustainment improvements for the enterprise."

The development work for this final fix is funded by the US Air Force, which contributed $10.9 million, the Marine Corps, which contributed $7.9 million, the Navy, which contributed $2 million, and international partners, which contributed $5.5 million.

Some 53% of work will be performed in Fort Worth, Texas and 47% of work will be performed in Orlando, Florida, according to the notice. The feature is expected to be fielded in the first quarter of 2019, and will improve system speed and performance as well, according to Lockheed Martin.

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