F-35 mission software stability pose greatest risk USAF IOC

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blindpilot

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Unread post29 Apr 2016, 17:16

spazsinbad wrote:Here is the 'internet thing' again. Bloody hell get it straight peoples.
Expecting less of ALIS
29 Apr 2016 John A. Tirpak

...Air Force Materiel Command chief Gen. Ellen Pawlikowski said Thursday. .... made an analogy to a laptop computer. It [the laptop she is using as an analogy] can work without connecting to the internet, she said, but “sooner or later … there are things you want to buy” or upload [on your laptop], or to get updates, so a connection is ultimately inevitable."

Source: http://www.airforcemag.com/DRArchive/Pa ... -ALIS.aspx


Chill Spaz :D :) She is making an analogy. The ALIS needing to connect to the secure ground and satellite networks, is "like" your plain old laptop needing to connect for email, Amazon purchases, and service pack updates. Your laptop does this on the internet.

FWIW
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Unread post29 Apr 2016, 21:30

I'm pissed about being misled about being 'connected to the internet' as in the ordinary internet that we all know & love - when it ain't that but the 'other thing' that we know not. Matter of fact I would like to be connected to that other thing. :mrgreen:
"...All ALIS servers connect through encrypted land or satellite military networks, rather than the “internet” we usually think of, Scott noted...."

AFAIK the ALIS connection has always been quoted (probably by naysayers I guess) as 'connected to the internet' whereas this recent Danish 'oversetter' (translation) report says this:
Lockheed wins in Denmark
29 Apr 2016 Magnus Lysberg

"...F-35 is planned for development with a highly advanced operating system, which requires a lot of maintenance. This will be achieved through a closed, classified network..."

Source: https://translate.google.com/translate? ... F160429898
RAN FAA A4G Skyhawk 1970s: https://www.faaaa.asn.au/spazsinbad-a4g/ AND https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwqC_s6gcCVvG7NOge3qfAQ/
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Unread post30 Apr 2016, 07:44

Do you have Dropbox installed on your computer? If you use a desktop and a laptop machine, you can use Dropbox to sync files. If you go on a trip with your laptop and don't have internet access, you can still access and change all the same files, but they won't upload and sync with Dropbox until you connect to the internet again.

I would imagine that ALIS works the same way, since they talk about the thirty day window. ALIS is always attempting to upload information to the mothership, but if there's no connection, the local machine will write to local files and when a connection is made, everything will be synced up. At that point, spare parts, updated software, and other sundries will be dealt with.

As far as the ALIS connection, I would imagine that Lockheed has built their own form of VPN which will allow ALIS to function over existing networks without fear of being intercepted. It's probably got a few more tricks up its sleeve, like custom TCP/IP profiles that aren't published in the civilian realm.
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Unread post30 Apr 2016, 20:45

Air Force Official: F-35 Still Facing Maintenance Challenges
28 Apr 2016 Allyson Versprille

"The Air Force is continuing to work through several maintenance issues in its F-35 joint strike fighter program, including getting the next increment of the autonomic logistics information system ready for initial operational capability, a senior service leader said April 28.

The service's F-35A needs to have the latest version of ALIS, version 2.0.2, ready ahead of declaring IOC sometime between Aug. 1 and Dec. 31. Gen. Ellen Pawlikowski, commander of Air Force Materiel Command, said the concept behind ALIS is brilliant. The system would give the service greater agility because it would inform support crew of maintenance needs — enabling them to have the right parts available upon landing — and would notify suppliers of shortages.

But "as you start to see just how challenging that is and all of the interfaces that are involved in that, and then now introduce the cybersecurity requirements that go into it … it's almost as challenging as building a fifth-gen aircraft," Pawlikowski told reporters during a Defense Writers Group breakfast in Washington, D.C.

Officials have already said the system is approximately 60 days behind schedule. "This version of ALIS combines the management of F135 engine maintenance within ALIS and tracks all the life-limited parts on each and every F-35 aircraft," said Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan, program executive officer for F-35. "The development of these capabilities is proving to be difficult because they require integration with Lockheed Martin’s and Pratt & Whitney’s enterprise resource planning systems, or the 'back end' of ALIS," he said in his written testimony at a recent hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee.

The Air Force is working through the challenges with ALIS including the cybersecurity and integration problems, Pawlikowski said. "The question is … how much is enough now that we see how challenging this is, and how much do I really need to do to have that agility?" she said. The Air Force is focused on getting the system to a form where the operator can reliably count on it and use it for IOC, she said.

Additionally, the service is looking at adjusting expectations for what it wants ALIS to do at IOC, Pawlikowski said. That does not mean changing the system requirement, but reevaluating how the Air Force interprets some of the specific details within that requirement, she said. "I think it's a little 'r' adjustment not a big 'R' adjustment."..."

Source: http://www.nationaldefensemagazine.org/ ... px?ID=2167
RAN FAA A4G Skyhawk 1970s: https://www.faaaa.asn.au/spazsinbad-a4g/ AND https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwqC_s6gcCVvG7NOge3qfAQ/
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Unread post01 May 2016, 02:46

'TCP/IP' - inherently insecure. TCP was designed for error handling and data transmission 'robustness' over noisey wide area links for ARPANET. The initial designers did not design it with strong security in mind. ALIS probably employs end-to-end encryption (link encrypted along with the underlying data itself), over a controlled wide area network designed, maintained and monitored by the Department of Defense.
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Unread post16 May 2017, 06:12

F-35 Threat Library Still Way Too Slow; Light Pilots Cleared to Fly
15 May 2017 Colin Clark

"PENTAGON: The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter possesses a remarkable array of sensors and processors to let it find the enemy and help the pilot kill or evade him. But the crucial threat library — known as Mission Data Files — just isn’t being developed and updated quickly enough, Brig. Gen. Scott Pleus, head of the F-35 integration office, told me today.

“I completely agree with your comment that we need to get these updates much more quickly,” Pleus said this afternoon during a briefing for reporters in the Air Force Public Affairs office.

Why do those files matter? To make it as clear as possible, if the F-35 does not possess current threat data for everything from electronic warfare to radar to kinetic threats such as missiles, then it simply “might not know what it is looking at,” Pleus told me. That would hobble one of the fighter’s great advantages, its capacity to synthesize vast amounts of information for the pilot.

Who’s responsible? The Mission Data Files are created using information from the Intelligence Community and are then built into usable data by the 513th Electronic Warfare Squadron at Eglin Air Force Base.

This is not a new problem. Pleus’ predecessor, then-Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Harrigian (he’s now the three-star commander of all Central Command’s air forces) identified this as the biggest problem facing the program two years ago...."

Source: http://breakingdefense.com/2017/05/f-35 ... ed-to-fly/
RAN FAA A4G Skyhawk 1970s: https://www.faaaa.asn.au/spazsinbad-a4g/ AND https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwqC_s6gcCVvG7NOge3qfAQ/
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Unread post18 May 2017, 04:41

jetblast16 wrote:ALIS probably employs end-to-end encryption (link encrypted along with the underlying data itself), over a controlled wide area network designed, maintained and monitored by the Department of Defense.


Almost certainly a HAIPE-IS Inline Network Encryptor.
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Unread post31 Oct 2017, 23:56

:salute:
http://www.eglin.af.mil/News/Article/13 ... zed-by-af/
F-35 mission data programmers recognized by AF
By 1st Lt. Jessica C. Risma, 53rd Wing Public Affairs / Published October 31, 2017
EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- The 53rd Wing’s 513th Electronic Warfare Squadron was awarded the Outstanding Scientist/Engineer Team of 2017 for their work on the F-35A Initial Operational Capability delivery here Oct. 25.

“I’m extremely proud of the work these Airmen, military, civilian and contractors alike, do every day with their Navy teammates,” said Col. David Abba, 53rd Wing commander. “Winning this award is a testament to the incredible work they are accomplishing together for the warfighter.”

This Air Force Science, Technology, Engineering and Math annual award recognizes the efforts and achievements of scientists and engineers who make significant contributions to technology and engineering.

For the last seven years, 513th EWS Airmen and Sailors of the F-35’s U.S. Reprogramming Laboratory have been doing just that. They make the F-35 the fighter every aspiring pilot dreams of flying. How they accomplish that feat is quite complex.

While impressive to behold, the aspects that make the F-35 a multi-role fifth generation aircraft and provide the warfighter global precision attack capability against current and emerging threats, are not its looks. It’s what’s on the inside that counts.

Supercomputers, referred to as sensor fusion, make up the F-35’s brain. That brain provides the fighter with unique capabilities, making it more lethal, survivable and adaptable than any fighter aircraft on Earth, according to the Secretary of Air Force Public Affairs.

However, without 513th EWS personnel inputting critical mission data into the F-35, sensor fusion wouldn’t work as intended. The aircraft wouldn’t know what threats to search for or when.

“America, our allies, and coalition partners need the F-35’s unmatched capabilities, so we can fight and win in highly contested areas,” said Abba. “The 513th Electronic Warfare Squadron allows the F-35 to realize its potential.”

In the electronic warfare world, engineers refer to this ability to understand the world, the ability to sift through stimuli and make informed decisions about how to react, as mission data software.

This software helps compile countless pieces of information about the environment the F-35 will fly into. It also creates within the F-35’s brain the means of deciphering that environment.

The men and women of the 513th EWS program this essential mission data software, thus teaching the F-35 how to distinguish between stimuli and making it efficient, intelligent, and lethal.

“It’s great to be doing this work,” said 1st Lt. Jeffery Bintz, 513th mission data engineer. “Every day, I know my efforts are being used to create the best fighter known to man.”

Over the years, circumstances surrounding the maturation of the F-35 required Airmen, Sailors, and Marines to adapt and innovate.

One situation requiring innovation involves the constantly evolving aircraft software load. To use an iPhone analogy, the aircraft software load is similar to iOS. The mission data is similar to an iPhone’s contact list and apps. The iOS is required for an iPhone to turn on, but the contact list and apps are what help translate this technology into a functional format. In this way, mission data interacts with the aircraft software in order to enable the F-35’s sensor fusion and thus give pilots unprecedented battlefield situational awareness.

Similar to iPhone technology, the operating system of the F-35 continues to be updated. However, unlike the simple update transition with an iPhone between iOS versions, the F-35 situation is more complex and time consuming for the app creators.

With each new version of the F-35 operating system, the 513th EWS team must reprogram the previous mission data and build, package and input it anew. Basically, they must rewrite all the apps and retype the contact list. There is no automatic transfer and update of mission data.

Compounding this manually intensive situation is the software tool, known as the mission data file generation tool. It is used to program mission data, but has no “edit” or “save as” function.

Confronting these challenges, among many others, are why the 513th EWS was able to achieve accomplishments garnering Air Force recognition.

Innovation and utilizing the resources provided are standard operating procedures for the 513th EWS. Their focus remains steadfast: to provide the most operationally exceptional mission data for the world’s most advanced fighter.

“When I’m programming, testing, and re-testing the mission data, I know this work is not only for the Air Force, but for the Navy, the Marine Corps, and all our other coalition partners,” said Bintz. “I love to hear the F-35’s flying and know it was my brains that provided a little piece of the success of that great fighter.”
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Unread post01 Nov 2017, 05:16

Bloody hell this is antediluvian indeed - is this stuff written in machine code (I have no clue) - software/computers! :doh:
"...With each new version of the F-35 operating system, the 513th EWS team must reprogram the previous mission data and build, package and input it anew. Basically, they must rewrite all the apps and retype the contact list. There is no automatic transfer and update of mission data. [WTF!?]

Compounding this manually intensive situation is the software tool, known as the mission data file generation tool. It is used to program mission data, but has no “edit” or “save as” function...."
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Unread post01 Nov 2017, 06:22

Speaking as a programmer.... that is stupid as fk.

There has to be a "save" function, otherwise, how would you copy it to the jets?
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Unread post01 Nov 2017, 06:38

Apparently they were able to innovate fixes and workarounds to the software limitations hence the award.
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Unread post01 Nov 2017, 06:51

SpudmanWP wrote:Speaking as a programmer.... that is stupid as fk.

There has to be a "save" function, otherwise, how would you copy it to the jets?


Okay I have been retired for long enough that the state of the art is beyond my expertise, but let's put some context to this. Crucial firmware has two characteristics. It is basically frozen code, and because of this it is unchangeable, but can be exploitable IF someone finds a "firmware hack." Now days, the hackers are pretty talented. So there is still some risk here.

The best way to imagine the issues, is to look at game consoles and game "stealing" over to emulators (getting a console game to run on your PC). There are ways to fight back against this. If you use hard ROM, which cannot be written over, a simple process of "try and write, if success then write garbage and trash the program" is effective.(the genuine ROM can't be trashed) That basically defeats emulators that use writable PROMs, flash programming etc. Only the "burn once/unwritable" memory will defeat this hack. It sounds like the mission files are in this type of memory environment. Of course this means that the data files will have to be loaded (burned once) onto whatever storage device they are using. There is no edit, or save the changes to this type of storage. If well conceived this protects (the gamers code) the files, in a secure fashion.

This makes sense to one who used to fight in these security/hacking battlegrounds.

BUT I am generations behind the latest techniques (NSA?/Wikileaks?) and even the current state of the art storage devices, and can't bring anything into that discussion, other than the generic concept of write once, read only, advantages and risks. This seems to be such an architecture. They are "burning" the files onto this part of the operating computer's storage, in a way that plugging a thumb drive in/hacking the files, cannot spoof it.

But just think of it as a console game guy trying to keep folks from downloading their new game into a unlocked emulator. That battle still goes on, especially in the smart phone world. That's why we have discussions of "unlocking" the cell phone.

FWIW,
BP

PS My first "PC" was an Altair 8800 in 1976?, with no storage and 8 K of memory. You had to put the boot up sequence in one byte at a time, through front panel toggle switches.
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I moved from this to designing multi level (Unclass/Secret/TS) networks for the Air Force, before moving on to consulting on robotics and telecomm systems.
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Unread post01 Nov 2017, 07:26

:applause: Many thanks for the explaino 'BP' - I will read it many times - my neuronic single moron is 'read many tymes'. :roll: :doh:
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Unread post01 Nov 2017, 16:04

spazsinbad wrote:Bloody hell this is antediluvian indeed - is this stuff written in machine code (I have no clue) - software/computers! :doh:
"...With each new version of the F-35 operating system, the 513th EWS team must reprogram the previous mission data and build, package and input it anew. Basically, they must rewrite all the apps and retype the contact list. There is no automatic transfer and update of mission data. [WTF!?]

Compounding this manually intensive situation is the software tool, known as the mission data file generation tool. It is used to program mission data, but has no “edit” or “save as” function...."


I'm sure that what is described as a complete redo involves running a few well prepared scripts that rebuilds the libraries from their internally maintained database into the required format and location. This may still take some time, but is unlikely to involves too much human intervention.

The story does not say that it has no SAVE, but not a SAVE AS. That normally means they can't make a copy elsewhere. However, since there is no EDIT button, this is mute anyway. They basically have to restart their scripts and rebuild the whole library every time there is a change. So in pricipal, they can edit, but only at an earlier stage.
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Unread post09 Nov 2017, 19:34

:salute:
http://www.eglin.af.mil/News/Article/13 ... to-norway/
53rd Wing delivers F-35 mission data file to Norway
By 1st Lt. Jessica Risma, 53rd Wing / Published November 08, 2017
EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. --
The 53rd Electronic Warfare Group’s Partner Support Complex delivered the F-35 mission data file to Norway Oct. 26.This is the first overseas delivery of Block 3F mission data to a foreign nation and was accomplished in anticipation of Norway’s first F-35s, which arrived last week and will be marked by a Nov.10 ceremony there.

“Delivery of this mission data file to Norway marks a great landmark,” said Robert Kraus, F-35 PSC director. “Our software provides the Norwegian F-35 an unprecedented precision attack capability – a crucial element to maintaining peace.”

The delivery of Block 3F mission data is important because it enables the F-35 to accomplish its primary missions of air interdiction, close air support, and suppression and destruction of enemy air defenses. Mission data files enable the aircraft to know what threats to search for and when, providing the F-35 its means of deciphering the environment.

“Mission data files are essential to the combat capability of the Lightning II,” said Dylan Duplechain, F-35 PSC chief engineer. “They provide the warfighter an extraordinary situational awareness capability and an unmatched ability to react to the threat environment.”

The men and women of the PSC are charged with programing this essential mission data software for eight F-35 partner nations, to include Norway, Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, Italy, the Netherlands, Turkey, and Denmark.

“The F-35 remains crucial to the continued modernization of our armed forces and our ability to preserve Norwegian and allied security and interests,” said Maj. Gen. Morten Klever, F-35 program director for Norway's Ministry of Defense. “Receiving the first three aircraft at Ørland Air Base Nov. 3 is a major milestone for Norway, presenting any future opponent with a credible threshold against military aggression or coercion."
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