The challenges of the $400 billion Lockheed Martin F-35 program have been reported in depth and detail for more than a decade. But, one underreported piece of the program is its Autonomic Logistics Information System, Alis.
Just like the F-35 itself -- merging the needs of three U.S. services and nine global partners -- is groundbreaking, so is the plan for Alis. The vision is for Alis to replace the bevy of disparate systems now used for fleet managememt of legacy combat aircraft. This includes such tasks as mission planning, post-misison processing, maintenance, parts and supply and personnel. Lockheed officials say that using this tool will simplify fleet management by giving commanders from headquarters down to the unit level a cohesive look at the fleet's status and health.
Alis could eventually set a new standard of integration for fleet management, or it could cause operators a host of headaches if something goes wrong as all functions run through one system.
As with any major program, it has suffered challenges in releasing the most recent version Alis 1.0.3 on time; this verison allows for the very beginning of electronic crosstalk between the different "applications," into the cohesive system. The earlier version -- like a beta system -- allowed for the function, but required a lot of manual inputs.
The next challenge will be in delivering the next version of the "standard operating unit," a squadron level tool used to store all of the data for that unit. Today's version is clunky and too big for expeditionary work. This SOU is needed for the USMC to declare IOC and JSF Program Executive Officer USAF Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan says he is "confident" the effort is on the right track.