ALIS and other automated logistics systems

Cockpit, radar, helmet-mounted display, and other avionics
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Elite 5K

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Unread post08 Jul 2019, 19:08

US Air Force’s acquisition chief talks {ALIS,} new B-52 engines and the future of battle management

Can you provide an update on Mad Hatter, the Air Force’s project to use agile software development to try to fix some of the problems with the F-35’s logistics system? You said in February that several improvements were to be fielded to the Autonomic Logistics Information System within weeks.

Mad Hatter is doing great. I have to give the team an A+ on being able to get started and start pulling apart the problems that our maintainers had.

They already deployed several apps that are helping maintainers. They fixed problems with the electronic equipment logs that were showing false positives, so those have been fixed, and the maintainers get to focus on things that are actually broken — not things that are reported as broken.

They fixed the scheduler, which had mismatches between the flight line system and ALIS, and they are currently working on things that are going to help maintainers do their own workflow on the flight line. There is a lot more to go for them. They’re putting Wi-Fi out on the line so that you can touch ALIS at the flight line, which currently you can’t. Maintainers have to go do their maintenance and then come back and enter data in the subsequent systems, and it doesn’t make sense to create data once and then replicate it again.

We want maintainers to be able to have ALIS in a protected, secure Wi-Fi network at the flight lines; that data is instantly uploaded. We’ve got work to go to get the accreditation done so that we could reach all the way back into the standard operating unit that touches Lockheed Martin. But we got a great partnership with Lockheed. They’ve been with us every step of the way.

What happens next?

I don’t have the answer yet, but one of the things that I think we should consider is the next variant of ALIS to be delivered. That’s 3.6. It’s currently going through negotiation and we’re approaching it as traditional ALIS, but if we believe in agile development, eventually we need to pull a development module of ALIS out of the traditional and put it into the Mad Hatter process. [Version] 3.6 is a candidate for that. If it’s not 3.6, is it 3.7 or 3.8?

The discussions we’re having now is about where’s the chalk line that we switch to the new methodology. We have to have enough development teams to do it and support the level and scope of the software, but I think we’re ready. We’ve got the team in the Air Force. We have 800 people in Kessel Run, [the Air Force’s software development team], that are currently doing amazing work for us.

With agile software development, you want to have exposure with the user. Once those apps were deployed, what was the feedback like? Did users want to see additional fixes, or were the apps coming out well already?

When final deployment was done, it was software as the users wanted. The users are involved from the beginning. Step one is the coders leaving their coding shop and going out to the flight line in Nellis [Air Force Base, Nevada], and sitting down, walking through how ALIS works and how the rest of the maintenance planning tools work. Understanding the pain points: What do you not like? What takes up your time? What do you want to change? Storyboarding that out to understand how it might be fixed, turning that into a development back log; so what am I going to attack and when? And then having the user touch products before they become final.

What the Mad Hatter team does is continues to iterate during design so that by the time you deploy, it’s in the image of what the operators have requested, not in the image of what the developers expected they wanted, and that’s the secret to “agile.” ... anagement/
"The early bird gets the worm but the second mouse gets the cheese."
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Unread post09 Jul 2019, 07:35

ALIS-Next 8)
From JPO's Facebook ... 714517446/

(Do not know why but) From this month JPO had opened Twitter. (There are only a few tweets.)
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Elite 2K

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Unread post09 Jul 2019, 13:36

ALIS is a dirty word on the F-35 program. It has given LM a black eye, of sorts.

And while not excusing LM, because they have a degree of responsibility in the product delivered, I doubt ALIS, being as large and as complicated as it is, was a freebie that LM threw together and told the miltary / JPO, "Hey, we've got this great software tool for you to use to maintain the F-35... you'll love it!"

Rather, being as large and as complex as it is, I am guessing the requirements for ALIS are rather detailed, complex, and lengthy in and of themselves. While aerospace companies are not known as stalwarts of software elegance, the military services are not terribly bright either, at writing good requirements, less software requirements that can be terribly complex and tedious. Generally speaking, the US government gets exactly what they specify in a contract.

"Eight clicks to load a weapon"? How much paperwork was involved before ALIS / F-35 came along?
Take an F-16, stir in A-7, dollop of F-117, gob of F-22, dash of F/A-18, sprinkle with AV-8B, stir well + bake. Whaddya get? F-35.

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