F-35 mission software stability pose greatest risk USAF IOC

Unread postPosted: 08 Mar 2016, 08:03
by spazsinbad
F-35 mission software stability poses greatest risk to USAF IOC
06 Mar 2016 Marina Malenic

"Key Points
• A software glitch that interferes with the F-35 radar's ability to remain working in flight poses the greatest threat to meeting the USAF's IOC schedule
• Training on a new increment of ALIS and a fuel pressure modification are the other two unresolved issues

A software glitch that interferes with the ability of the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter's AN/APG-81 AESA radar working in flight poses the greatest threat to delaying US Air Force (USAF) plans to declare its jets operationally deployable, a top service official told IHS Jane's on 4 March.

Major General Jeffrey Harrigian, director of the air force's F-35 integration office at the Pentagon, described the problem as "radar stability - the radar's ability to stay up and running" using the 3i software that the air force intends to use when it declares initial operational capability (IOC) for its fleet sometime between 1 August and 31 December.

"What would happen is they'd get a signal that says either a radar degrade or a radar fail -something that would force us to restart the radar," Maj Gen Harrigian said in further describing the issue.

The issue arose in late 2015, according to the general. "We first started to see it in testing," he said.

"Lockheed Martin discovered the root cause, and now they're in the process of making sure they take that solution and run it through the [software testing] lab." He added that new software that corrects the error is to be delivered to the USAF at the end of March.

To correct the software quickly, some code writers were diverted from their work on increment 3F, Maj Gen Harrigian said. However, any solution to the problem in increment 3i will be transferable to 3F coding, so both increments will benefit from the work
...."

Source: http://www.janes.com/article/58561/f-35 ... o-usaf-ioc

Re: F-35 mission software stability pose greatest risk USAF

Unread postPosted: 11 Mar 2016, 05:23
by spazsinbad
F-35 Logistics System May Not Be Ready for Air Force IOC Target
10 Mar 2016 Lara Seligman

"WASHINGTON – The latest version of the F-35's logistics system may not be ready by the time the Air Force wants to declare its jets combat-ready this summer, according to the program manager.

The Air Force has a window between Aug. 1 and Dec. 31 to declare initial operational capability for its F-35As. Aug. 1 is the target date for Air Force IOC, and the joint program office has promised to meet that goal.

But the JPO may be about 45 to 60 days behind schedule due to problems with the aircraft’s Autonomic Logistics Information System (ALIS), designed as a kind of internal diagnostic system that tracks the health of each part of each plane worldwide, according to JPO chief Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan.

“We’re going as fast as we can, industry is going as fast as they can, but we’re not 100 percent sure we can make up that time,” Bogdan said March 10 at the Credit Suisse/McAleese FY2017 Defense Programs Conference. “We will know as we get closer, this spring and this summer.”

Although the program office may not have the latest version of ALIS ready by Aug. 1, Bogdan does not see any risk to making the the Dec. 31 threshold date for IOC.

Behind ALIS, the biggest risk to Air Force IOC is software development, Bogdan has said. The JPO is racing to finish the next increment of software, Block 3i, which the Air Force needs for IOC, as well as the final software block required for full war-fighting capability, Block 3f. The JPO is still seeing some problems with software “stability,” a measure of how well the sensors work, but has identified the root cause of the problem, he said. In essence, a timing misalignment of the software of the plane’s sensors and the software of its main computers are causing a “choking” effect, where the jet’s systems shut down and have to be rebooted.

The JPO and industry team will fly an improved software load for Block 3i, which they hope will fix the problem, on flight test planes in late March or early April, Bogdan said. This does not leave much margin in the schedule, as Bogdan has said the JPO has until May to fix or at least mitigate the stability problems before the Aug. 1 IOC date could be affected.

However, Bogdan expressed confidence that the JPO and manufacturer Lockheed Martin can get the software fixed in time. The hurdle to meeting the Aug. 1 IOC date is ALIS, not software, Bogdan stressed.

“The long pole in the tent is not software, it’s ALIS, so they are both vying for who is going to be later,” Bogan said."

Source: http://www.defensenews.com/story/defens ... /81605826/

Re: F-35 mission software stability pose greatest risk USAF

Unread postPosted: 24 Mar 2016, 03:13
by popcorn
https://fcw.com/articles/2016/03/23/f35 ... litch.aspx

F-35 software fixes on the way, program officer tells Congress

A senior defense official told lawmakers that a fix for a software glitch in the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jet will be tested next week in hopes of solving the issue in the next month. But it will delay the final flight test by an additional four months.

"Currently, our most significant technical concern is the development and integration of mission systems software," said Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan, program executive officer of the F-35 Lightning II Joint Program Office at the Defense Department, in testimony before the House Armed Services Committee's Tactical Air and Land Forces Subcommittee on March 23.

At issue is the stability of a block of software that leads to timing problems between the radar and main computer, which causes the radar to shut off and reboot about every four hours of flight time. Officials hope that a fix will reduce incidents to once every eight to 10 hours, which Bogdan said is "good enough."

"With 8 million lines of code in the airplane, it is not unusual for both legacy airplanes and modern fifth-generation airplanes every now and then to have to reset one of the sensors in flight or have an automatic reset," he added. "That is not an uncommon situation."

He said the root cause of the stability problems has been identified, and fixes have been tested in the lab. If flight tests are successful, the patches will be added to a new version of a block of the F-35's software.

The glitch is in the 3i block, which includes a new helmet and display system. The final block, called 3F, is required for full warfighting capability. Bogdan said that phase has the most software risk because it has some of the same stability issues as the 3i block and because it must fuse information from a number of sources, such as satellites and ground stations.


The program office anticipates completing all 3i software testing this spring. Full 3F capability be fielded by late fall of 2017, Bogdan said.

The F-35 fleet will cost about $1 trillion to operate and support over its lifetime, according to a DOD estimate. A Government Accountability Office report released for the hearing states that the program faces "significant affordability challenges." GAO auditors also concluded that "delays could be exacerbated by the current mission system software stability issues and large number of remaining weapon delivery accuracy events that must take place."

Re: F-35 mission software stability pose greatest risk USAF

Unread postPosted: 24 Mar 2016, 03:14
by popcorn
https://fcw.com/articles/2016/03/23/f35 ... litch.aspx

F-35 software fixes on the way, program officer tells Congress

A senior defense official told lawmakers that a fix for a software glitch in the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jet will be tested next week in hopes of solving the issue in the next month. But it will delay the final flight test by an additional four months.

"Currently, our most significant technical concern is the development and integration of mission systems software," said Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan, program executive officer of the F-35 Lightning II Joint Program Office at the Defense Department, in testimony before the House Armed Services Committee's Tactical Air and Land Forces Subcommittee on March 23.

At issue is the stability of a block of software that leads to timing problems between the radar and main computer, which causes the radar to shut off and reboot about every four hours of flight time. Officials hope that a fix will reduce incidents to once every eight to 10 hours, which Bogdan said is "good enough."

"With 8 million lines of code in the airplane, it is not unusual for both legacy airplanes and modern fifth-generation airplanes every now and then to have to reset one of the sensors in flight or have an automatic reset," he added. "That is not an uncommon situation."

He said the root cause of the stability problems has been identified, and fixes have been tested in the lab. If flight tests are successful, the patches will be added to a new version of a block of the F-35's software.

The glitch is in the 3i block, which includes a new helmet and display system. The final block, called 3F, is required for full warfighting capability. Bogdan said that phase has the most software risk because it has some of the same stability issues as the 3i block and because it must fuse information from a number of sources, such as satellites and ground stations.


The program office anticipates completing all 3i software testing this spring. Full 3F capability be fielded by late fall of 2017, Bogdan said.

The F-35 fleet will cost about $1 trillion to operate and support over its lifetime, according to a DOD estimate. A Government Accountability Office report released for the hearing states that the program faces "significant affordability challenges." GAO auditors also concluded that "delays could be exacerbated by the current mission system software stability issues and large number of remaining weapon delivery accuracy events that must take place."

Re: F-35 mission software stability pose greatest risk USAF

Unread postPosted: 24 Mar 2016, 05:39
by spazsinbad
F-35 Full Combat Capability Will Be Four Months Late
23 Mar 2016 Lara Seligman

"WASHINGTON – The F-35 will not get its full combat capability package until late fall of 2017, a delay of about four months from the original plan, according to a top general.

Testing of two earlier versions of the F-35 software, Blocks 2B and 3i, took longer than expected, Joint Program Office (JPO) Chief Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan wrote in his March 23 written testimony before the House Armed Services subcommittee on tactical air and land forces. The Marine Corps declared initial operational capability (IOC) with Block 2B last summer; meanwhile, the Air Force needs Block 3i to declare its jets operational this year.

Testing of Block 3F, which will give the jets full warfighting capability, started later than planned because the program office had to spend more time fixing Blocks 2B and 3i, Bogdan wrote. As a result, Block 3F will likely be completed about four months late, and will be delivered in late fall of 2017, Bogdan told lawmakers.

However, Bogdan noted that this delay is an improvement over the JPO’s projection a year ago, and is not expected to impact the Navy’s ability to declare its F-35C jets operational in 2018. The four-month delay will also have no impact on coalition partners’ capabilities, he wrote.

The schedule risk is primarily due to software “stability” issues, seen in both Blocks 3i and 3F. In essence, a timing misalignment of the software of the plane’s sensors and the software of its main computers are causing a “choking” effect, where the jet’s systems shut down and have to be rebooted. However, the JPO and contractor Lockheed Martin have identified the root cause and plan to flight test an updated software load at Edwards Air Force Base, California, sometime in the next few weeks, officials have said.

The program office has established a “Red Team,” made up of experts from the Navy, Air Force and outside the Pentagon to take an in-depth look at the issue, Bogdan told reporters after the hearing. The Red Team has already begun its study and will report back in about a month, he said.

“We brought them together and we’re sending them down to Lockheed to try to figure out, do we have the root cause analysis right on these problems? Are we going after the right issues?” Bogdan said. “Because it’s very easy to just make a fix to the software, but if you don’t fix the fundamental issues going on those fixes only will last so long and they will pop up again.”

Success of Block 3F mission systems hinges on the program office resolving the problems with Block 3i, Director of Operational Test and Evaluation Michael Gilmore wrote in his written testimony. The stability and functionality problems in the initial versions of Block 3F, inherited from Block 3i, were “so significant that the program could not continue flight test,” he wrote.

While Bogdan stressed the Block 3F delays will not impact IOC, he acknowledged they could affect how ready the jets are for the formal initial operational test and evaluation (IOT&E) phase of development, currently planned to start in 2017.

Gilmore estimated Block 3F capabilities will not be ready for IOT&E until 2018 at the earliest.

“The Block 3F schedule, even with significant improvements in software stability, deficiency resolution, and flight test rates, still appears to extend into 2018 before the capabilities will be ready and certified for IOT&E,” Gilmore wrote."

Source: http://www.defensenews.com/story/defens ... /82187648/

Re: F-35 mission software stability pose greatest risk USAF

Unread postPosted: 24 Mar 2016, 06:03
by spazsinbad
More detail on the mistiming issue... SPOILER ALERT Tremble gets it RONG... then with a mixture of Rite and RONG....
Software fix readied to prevent further F-35 delay
24 Mar 2016 Stephen Trimble

"Flight tests starting next week will determine whether a key milestone for the US Air Force version of the Lockheed Martin F-35A will be delayed only four months or perhaps even longer, programme officials say....

...“What the pilots are seeing is when they take-off and they need to use the sensors, particularly the radar, the communication between the radar and the computer is mistimed,” says Lt Gen Chris Bogdan, the F-35 programme executive, speaking at the House Armed Services subcommittee on tactical air and land forces on 23 March.

As timing delays pile up, the radar enters a degraded mode or shuts down completely, he says, requiring several minutes to restart. The software causes a sensor to shut down an average of once every 4h, he adds....

...The USAF plans to announce IOC with the next software upgrade called Block 3F, which would the F-35 to carry a full complement of weapons and enable the full flight envelope....

...But the next challenge will be introducing the Block 3F software, which adds significant new functions for operating the sensors, weapons and flight controls.

“We are wary that further issues will emerge,” Stackley says."

Source: https://www.flightglobal.com/news/artic ... ay-423497/

Re: F-35 mission software stability pose greatest risk USAF

Unread postPosted: 24 Mar 2016, 07:28
by optimist
this is probably as good a place as any for this.
2016 03 23- Hearing: Update on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Program


Re: F-35 mission software stability pose greatest risk USAF

Unread postPosted: 24 Mar 2016, 12:52
by basher54321
oh the drama!

22:19 the public perception of the F-35 :D

Re: F-35 mission software stability pose greatest risk USAF

Unread postPosted: 24 Mar 2016, 15:13
by str
The nice thing about timing problems is that they're (usually) extremely predictable. Its a creeping error where one system clock runs a little faster/slower than the other, which only becomes a problem when the difference is large enough (say .00001 seconds or so, by the looks of it) that the systems start disagreeing what time it is...which computers really don't like because they're clocks as much as they are calculators.

When the report says the issue happens about every 4 hours, it probably means the issue always happens at the 4 hour mark (or 3:55:45.whatever mark). It looks like a reboot will grab the main system time, so as long as you reboot the system before that that point, it should sync everything back up for another 4 hours. Nice, predictable, and flexible to fit into your mission plan.

Downside is that clocks impact almost everything in a system like this. So while the fix itself is likely trivial, you have to test EVERYTHING over again.

Re: F-35 mission software stability pose greatest risk USAF

Unread postPosted: 24 Mar 2016, 17:04
by KamenRiderBlade
The sad thing about internal PC clocks for time keeping. They're not a completely independent system in most cases. The clocks are updated via the CPU and if you keep running CPU intensive workloads, the upkeep of the base clock gets ever so slightly out of alignment with the more intense workload, the more it'll ever so slightly misalign. Even your cheapo Quartz Clock found in cheapo digital Watches is more accurate and reliable for base internal clock keeping on a Motherboard. But since the design of a computer clock system has been this way for decades, nobody bothers spending that extra $2-5 needed for a dedicated clock based on the Quartz Clock found in Watches.

If it's a timing issue, a simple Quartz Clock built into the Mobo for Time keeping would've been fine, but that would require some work at this point from the Motherboard Manufacturer or very skilled hacking of the BIOS and the CPU clock update system.

A big issue as to when the clock loses time upkeep a lot is when the CPU is hitting 100% load and it loses a few cycles on the clock upkeep.

I don't know how well their Real Time OS compensates for this, but a better solution for the entire world is to spend that $2-5 for integrating that Quartz Clock into the Motherboard and let it do it's thing independently & accurately.

Re: F-35 mission software stability pose greatest risk USAF

Unread postPosted: 24 Mar 2016, 17:31
by botsing
KamenRiderBlade wrote:The sad thing about internal PC clocks for time keeping. They're not a completely independent system in most cases. The clocks are updated via the CPU and if you keep running CPU intensive workloads, the upkeep of the base clock gets ever so slightly out of alignment with the more intense workload, the more it'll ever so slightly misalign. Even your cheapo Quartz Clock found in cheapo digital Watches is more accurate and reliable for base internal clock keeping on a Motherboard. But since the design of a computer clock system has been this way for decades, nobody bothers spending that extra $2-5 needed for a dedicated clock based on the Quartz Clock found in Watches.

If it's a timing issue, a simple Quartz Clock built into the Mobo for Time keeping would've been fine, but that would require some work at this point from the Motherboard Manufacturer or very skilled hacking of the BIOS and the CPU clock update system.

A big issue as to when the clock loses time upkeep a lot is when the CPU is hitting 100% load and it loses a few cycles on the clock upkeep.

I don't know how well their Real Time OS compensates for this, but a better solution for the entire world is to spend that $2-5 for integrating that Quartz Clock into the Motherboard and let it do it's thing independently & accurately.

Looking at the needed accuracy I highly doubt quartz clocks (around 32,768 Hz) will be good enough.

Until we know more about the specifics it is hard to theorize what the issue actually is. For example: it can be creep, out of sync between internal systems, push/pull delay, interrupt requests, stuff like variable wire length or even a combination of these that can cause it.

Re: F-35 mission software stability pose greatest risk USAF

Unread postPosted: 24 Mar 2016, 17:34
by neptune
KamenRiderBlade wrote:....A big issue as to when the clock loses time upkeep a lot is when the CPU is hitting 100% load and it loses a few cycles on the clock upkeep.....


...gee a clock issue again, again, again, again....the same simple solution from the 1950's again, again, again...master clock independent of the "over worked, ( :(, :(, :( ) cpu... every task does "NOT" have to be processed by the tired little cpu... gee history repeats it's self, again, again, again....

I bet the "fix" will work and the "3I" will allow the AF IOC... much ado about nothing... :)

Re: F-35 mission software stability pose greatest risk USAF

Unread postPosted: 24 Mar 2016, 20:46
by KamenRiderBlade
Blame modern computer motherboards makers and they're endless desire for the drive to save cost.

For consumer end PC's, it'd be a dirt cheap solution that would offer better than what is available accuracy.

As for what type of boards they use on the F-35. Who knows. The only thing I know is that it's custom.

Re: F-35 mission software stability pose greatest risk USAF

Unread postPosted: 29 Apr 2016, 09:43
by spazsinbad
Yes - being concerned about ALIS & the internet - it always puzzled me - but here we have it:
"...All ALIS servers connect through encrypted land or satellite military networks, rather than the “internet” we usually think of, Scott noted....

Could Connectivity Failure Ground F-35? It's Complicated
29 Apr 2016 Lara Seligman + Aaron Mehta

"WASHINGTON — The F-35 joint program office and a top government watchdog are butting heads about a key question for the joint strike fighter: whether or not the fifth-generation plane can fly if disconnected from a key logistics system.

At the center of the debate is the Autonomics Logistics and Information System (ALIS), an internal diagnostic system that tracks the health of each part of each plane worldwide. ALIS is no stranger to controversy, with top program officials identifying it as the last hurdle to declaring the US Air Force jets operational on time this year.

Now a new report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) identifies a new ALIS-related concern — that if a single ALIS server were to go down, whether from loss of electricity or sabotage, it could cripple the entire F-35 fleet.

"Users are concerned that ALIS’ current design results in all F-35 data produced across the fleet to be routed up to the Central Point of Entry and then to the Autonomic Logistics Operating Unit, with no backup system or redundancy,” according to the April GAO report. “If either of these fail, it could take the entire F-35 fleet offline.”

But JPO chief Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan disagrees, telling reporters last week after testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee there is “absolutely” no truth to the claim that a failure to connect to ALIS could ground the fleet.

The differing views of the program office and the GAO over ALIS reflect the ongoing challenges of the F-35 program, and the fleet's logistics system in particular. ALIS is by far the most integrated and complex fleet management system in the US military today, but advances in technology often give rise to new challenges — and without a clear precedent from previous systems, both sides have legitimate arguments to fall back on.

ALIS, often called the backbone of the F-35 fleet, is an information technology hub that is used to plan missions, track aircraft status, order spare parts, and manage sustainment of the plane. By contrast, legacy aircraft use several standalone systems to perform these daily functions. ALIS is the first system of its kind to manage daily squadron operations, track sustainment trends and protect sovereign information — all in one hub, according to Dave Scott, vice president of training and logistics solution business development for Lockheed Martin Mission Systems and Training.

All ALIS servers connect through encrypted land or satellite military networks, rather than the “internet” we usually think of, Scott noted.

There is only one global ALIS server, called the Autonomic Logistics Operating Unit (ALOU), where spare parts are ordered and reliability trends are analyzed, Scott said. Each partner nation has its own server, called the Central Point of Entry (CPE), which stores sovereign data and transmits that information to the ALOU, Scott explained.

Individual squadrons operate locally with a server called the Standard Operating Unit (SOU), which communicates with that nation’s CPE. Squadrons can operate independently and store data for about 30 days without connecting to the partner nation’s CPE, Scott said. Then, when a connection is re-established, the SOU uploads the stored data to the CPE.

Differing Opinions
The fact that the F-35 enterprise has so few servers, and just one main hub for the entire globe, is at the core of concerns ALIS could easily be taken down.

The GAO report warned that ALIS has no backup system to ensure operations if any of the servers — the ALOU, a nation's CPE or a squadron's SOU — were to fail. Specifically, squadron leaders at two sites visited by the GAO expressed concern that a loss of electricity, particularly during deployments to remote locations, “could adversely affect fleet operations.”

The program office, for its part, says it is working to build in more redundancy to the ALIS infrastructure. Program officials are also working to procure two additional ALOUs for backup, and possibly relocating the US CPE to another F-35 site, according to the GAO report.

But in the near-term, the Pentagon feels it can manage even if ALIS were to go down. In fact, the overall F-35 fleet should be able to operate without connection for up to 30 days with maintainers tracking the work off-line, the Pentagon told GAO.

Losing connectivity to ALIS would be a pain, but hardly fatal, the JPO contends. If jets are unable to use ALIS — a ground-based system that provides sustainment and support, but not combat capabilities for the jet — the F-35 is still a usable plane. In fact, the worst case scenario would be that operators would have to track maintenance and manage daily squadron operations manually, just as older jets do.

The best description of the problem came from Gen. Ellen Pawlikowski, chief of Air Force Materiel Command, who compared ALIS to a laptop computer.

"You can turn on your laptop, you can use it, you can turn it off and never be on the internet," Pawlikowski said April 28 during a Defense Writers Group event. "But eventually there is stuff you want to send out by email, eventually there are things you may want to put on your Google drive."

Yes, the F-35 can take off and land without connecting to ALIS; yes, operators can make repairs without the logistics system, Pawlikowski said. But at some point users need to feed that information up to the central ALIS hub, she stressed.

"I don't need ALIS to put fuel in the plane and fly it, [I can] take a part and replace it if I have the spares there," Pawlikowski said. "But somewhere along the line I've got to tell ALIS that I did it so that the supply chain will now know that that part has got to be replaced."

For his part, Bogdan believes there were "no surprises" in the GAO report.

"All of the issues mentioned are well known to the JPO, the U.S. Services, International Partners and our Industry team," Bogdan said in a written response to the GAO report April 14. "Overall, the F-35 program is executing well across the entire spectrum of acquisition, to include development and design, flight test, production, fielding and base stand-up, training, sustainment of fielded aircraft, and building a global sustainment enterprise."

Marine ALIS Users Satisfied
As debate rages in Washington over ALIS' viability, the operators who use the system on a regular basis say they are satisfied so far.

A group of four Marine maintainers from Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort in South Carolina, the training hub for the F-35B for both the Corps and the United Kingdom, told reporters during an April 14 visit that ALIS has made their life easier.

The Marine Corps declared IOC with its F-35Bs last summer, and conducted its first-ever expeditionary test in December. Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 121 deployed eight jets to Twentynine Palms, California, for Exercise Steel Knight, where they practiced short takeoffs and vertical landings. The Marines are preparing to deploy to Iwakuni, Japan, next year.

“I am more than satisfied with it and seeing it grow and seeing it change," a Marine said. "There’s not as much troubleshooting anymore so maintenance times are definitely up.”

Overall, maintenance on the F-35 is “10 times easier” than on a Navy F-18, said one maintainer. Despite initial challenges, another Marine stressed that the system is constantly improving.

“Compared to how it was originally, it’s night and day,” said the Marine when asked about updates to the system. “The transition has been good. Every upgrade they do is easy to get ahold of, get your head around. It’s been pretty consistent as far as maintainability.”

Source: http://www.defensenews.com/story/defens ... /83589006/

Re: F-35 mission software stability pose greatest risk USAF

Unread postPosted: 29 Apr 2016, 14:16
by spazsinbad
Here is the 'internet thing' again. Bloody hell get it straight peoples.
Expecting less of ALIS
29 Apr 2016 John A. Tirpak

"​The Air Force is looking to see if it really needs the F-35’s Autonomic Logistics Information System (ALIS) to do everything it was originally planned to do right away, Air Force Materiel Command chief Gen. Ellen Pawlikowski said Thursday. The system is “almost as challenging” as developing a fifth-generation fighter, and while the concepts involved in ALIS are all great, “we have to see … how much is enough, now that we see how challenging it is,” she told reporters in Washington, D.C., on Thursday.

Pawlikowski stopped short of saying USAF would relax its ALIS requirements—which might not even be possible, since it is a multi-service, multi-nation program. However, for purposes of initial service, USAF might think about “how much of the original vision is realistic” and “what’s the real savings if I get it to do a little less?” she said. Closing in on initial operational capability, USAF may “adjust its expectations” for the system, she said.

Asked to comment on whether the F-35 could fly missions without plugging into the internet—a question posed recently because of concerns about ALIS’ cyber vulnerabilities—Pawlikowski made an analogy to a laptop computer. It can work without connecting to the internet, [please explain - NOT THE INTERNET BUT....] she said, but “sooner or later … there are things you want to buy” or upload, or to get updates, so a connection is ultimately inevitable."

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

Re: F-35 mission software stability pose greatest risk USAF

Unread postPosted: 29 Apr 2016, 17:16
by blindpilot
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
BP

Re: F-35 mission software stability pose greatest risk USAF

Unread postPosted: 29 Apr 2016, 21:30
by spazsinbad
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

Re: F-35 mission software stability pose greatest risk USAF

Unread postPosted: 30 Apr 2016, 07:44
by mrigdon
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.

Re: F-35 mission software stability pose greatest risk USAF

Unread postPosted: 30 Apr 2016, 20:45
by spazsinbad
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

Re: F-35 mission software stability pose greatest risk USAF

Unread postPosted: 01 May 2016, 02:46
by jetblast16
'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.

Re: F-35 mission software stability pose greatest risk USAF

Unread postPosted: 16 May 2017, 06:12
by spazsinbad
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/

Re: F-35 mission software stability pose greatest risk USAF

Unread postPosted: 18 May 2017, 04:41
by rheonomic
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.

Re: F-35 mission software stability pose greatest risk USAF

Unread postPosted: 31 Oct 2017, 23:56
by doge
: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.”

Re: F-35 mission software stability pose greatest risk USAF

Unread postPosted: 01 Nov 2017, 05:16
by spazsinbad
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...."

Re: F-35 mission software stability pose greatest risk USAF

Unread postPosted: 01 Nov 2017, 06:22
by SpudmanWP
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?

Re: F-35 mission software stability pose greatest risk USAF

Unread postPosted: 01 Nov 2017, 06:38
by popcorn
Apparently they were able to innovate fixes and workarounds to the software limitations hence the award.

Re: F-35 mission software stability pose greatest risk USAF

Unread postPosted: 01 Nov 2017, 06:51
by blindpilot
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.
Altair 8800.jpg
My First PC

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.

Re: F-35 mission software stability pose greatest risk USAF

Unread postPosted: 01 Nov 2017, 07:26
by spazsinbad
:applause: Many thanks for the explaino 'BP' - I will read it many times - my neuronic single moron is 'read many tymes'. :roll: :doh:

Re: F-35 mission software stability pose greatest risk USAF

Unread postPosted: 01 Nov 2017, 16:04
by lamoey
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.

Re: F-35 mission software stability pose greatest risk USAF

Unread postPosted: 09 Nov 2017, 19:34
by doge
: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."

Re: F-35 mission software stability pose greatest risk USAF

Unread postPosted: 09 Nov 2017, 19:51
by SpudmanWP
So much for another of Gilmore's "OMG the 3F MDFs won't be ready for years" :doh:

Re: F-35 mission software stability pose greatest risk USAF

Unread postPosted: 25 Jun 2019, 01:56
by operaaperta
Interesting You Tube vid on rearchitecting MDF enterprise. Using Amazon Web Services (AWS) of all things :shock:


Re: F-35 mission software stability pose greatest risk USAF

Unread postPosted: 25 Jun 2019, 03:03
by spazsinbad
Thanks - very interesting stuff indeed.