ALIS and other automated logistics systems

Cockpit, radar, helmet-mounted display, and other avionics
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SpudmanWP

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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.”


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Unread post09 Jul 2019, 07:35

ALIS-Next 8)
From JPO's Facebook https://www.facebook.com/F35JPO/photos/ ... 714517446/
60828123_2423708717850779_7881095092138672128_n.jpg

(Do not know why but) From this month JPO had opened Twitter. (There are only a few tweets.)
https://twitter.com/theF35JPO
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steve2267

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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?
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Unread post08 Sep 2019, 15:57

ALIS + Mad Hatter is going well...? :roll:
https://breakingdefense.com/2019/09/net ... -progress/
Net Assessment Comes To DNI; Roper Says F-35’s ALIS Makes Progress
By COLIN CLARK on September 05, 2019
NATIONAL HARBOR: A key capability the Defense Department has relied on since the late Andy Marshall invented it — Net Assessment — is coming to the Intelligence Community.

In other news, the head of Air Force acquisition, Will Roper, told me that the attempt to rebuild F-35’s maintenance and mission planning system known as ALIS as a cluster of apps is “going well, actually.”

However, the nascent effort is still an experiment at Nellis AFB run by software team known as Mad Hatter. The next step is, Roper said, for the Navy to decide if Mad Hatter should continue to work on what may become a substantial rebuild of ALIS, which has become perhaps the most troubled part of the F-35 program. That decision will be up to the Navy’s James Geurts, assistant secretary for research, development and acquisition, who now has acquisition authority for the F-35.
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Unread post16 Sep 2019, 17:40

How good is ALIS 3.1.1...? :roll:
https://aviationweek.com/defense/lockhe ... chitecture
Lockheed To Migrate F-35 Backbone To Cloud Architecture
Sep 11, 2019Lee Hudson and Steve Trimble | Aerospace Daily & Defense Report
Lockheed Martin intends to migrate its F-35 digital support backbone, the Autonomic Logistics Information System (ALIS), to a native-cloud architecture by year’s end and field it in 2020.

A joint government and industry team tested an early version of the new framework in both lab and flight test environments in May, company spokesman Mike Friedman said in a Sept. 11 statement to Aerospace DAILY.

“By moving all ALIS applications to a cloud-native, open architecture, we can rapidly develop and test pieces of ALIS without having to load the entire system for each upgrade,” he said. “And instead of aggregating many fixes over a 12- to 18-month period into a single upgrade, the new approach allows developers to create, test, receive feedback and implement fixes every few weeks while reducing development and fielding costs.”

The new construct still must be tested in an operational environment so that developers can garner user feedback to refine their approach.

Separately, the newest ALIS software release, 3.1.1, is saving pilots an average of 35 min. in report generation and review. The new software release also is saving maintainers 40 min. each day in report generation and several hours weekly in managing fleet directive reports, he added.

“This latest release leverages the development work Lockheed Martin completed in 2018 with its internal investment funding,” Friedman said. “In 2018, Lockheed Martin invested approximately $50 million in ALIS and will continue investing approximately $180 million through 2021 to modernize ALIS and enhance enterprise sustainment systems.”

Extrapolated across the enterprise of more than 425 aircraft flying today, it will save more than 20,000 manhours annually. Lockheed Martin has invested in additional time saving and efficiency ALIS automations and is working with the government on implementation and fielding plans, Friedman said.
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Unread post15 Nov 2019, 05:05

The Pentagon plan to save the F-35’s logistics system hinges on whether Lockheed will relinquish data control
14 Nov 2019 David B. Larter & Joe Gould [BEST READ IT ALL AT THE SOURCE]

"WASHINGTON – The Pentagon and Lockheed Martin are at odds over how much data the military can have access to for its own jet, the F-35, and that’s creating renewed friction in the fight to fix longstanding issues with the automated logistics system vital to keeping it flying. The Pentagon and Lockheed say a relaunched version of the Autonomic Logistics Information System, or ALIS, should be ready to start sending to squadrons by September 2020. Both the military’s top acquisition official and the F-35 program manager expressed frustration to lawmakers at a House Armed Services subcommittee hearing Tuesday with how much control Lockheed asserts over crucial data for the system....

...“One of the key elements of coming up with a new ALIS architecture, data standards, and all the other parts that would make a very good system is understanding the data set as it exists today — what all the algorithms are — and we are still in the process of going through that with Lockheed Martin,” said Ellen Lord, the under secretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment. “But understanding where all the intellectual property is and making sure the government has access to what it has paid for is a key part of rearchitecting ALIS.”

The fight over intellectual property stems from the original concept for the program, which gave Lockheed Martin sweeping control over virtually every major aspect of the F-35, from design and fabrication to maintenance, parts and logistics. But in recent years, dissatisfied by rising costs and delays, the Pentagon has sought to wrest more control back from Lockheed. Intellectual property rights and disputes over proprietary data, however, have often tripped up such efforts.

Frustrations
Some of Lockheed’s intellectual property assertions have bordered on ridiculous, according to F-35 Program Executive Officer Lt. Gen. Eric Fick, but getting a handle on what data the military needs to do its job is crucial, he said....

...Lord told lawmakers that the key to getting a successful system was breaking Lockheed’s grip on the logistics data infrastructure and housing more of it in a government cloud. “One of the challenges we have is that fact that a lot of the ALIS data and functionality works back through Lockheed Martin computers,” Lord said. ‘So, what we need to have in a newly rearchitected ALIS to is have that in a government cloud and accessible. So, this deconflicting of Lockheed data and government data will become much more clear.”... [then some good stuff to read at URL]

...Fick, who runs the Joint Program Office, told lawmakers that the latest software release for ALIS is expected this month. He predicted “significant progress” by September 2020 toward four different efforts to improve ALIS, including software upgrades, rearchitecting the system itself and Lockheed’s internal research and development work.

Though the ALIS software release in the fall of 2018 met the required-capabilities threshold for its design and development phase, Fick acknowledged the system needs “significant additional improvements” and noted that combat coded squadrons require 12 system administrators to maintain deployed operations and that training squadrons require eight.... [then stuff about risk & flight hours & availability best read at URL - get the picture? Read it all at URL]

...The U.S. F-35 fleet missed the monthly availability target of 65 percent, missed an 80 percent mission-capable target and missed reliability and maintainability metrics. Behler linked recent improvements in availability and mission capable rates to a greater availability of spare parts ― through the programs efforts to improve maintenance process and depot support.

Fick noted that the mission capable rate of the operational fleet jumped from 54.7 percent in October, 2018, to 72.5 percent in September of 2019.

Parts shortages was the chief contributor to low mission capable rates, Government Accountability Office’s Director of Defense Capabilities and Management Diana Maurer, told lawmakers. Parts were breaking more often than expected, it’s taken twice as long to fix them, and the depots for the repairs won’t be ready until 2024." :x

Source: https://www.defensenews.com/naval/2019/ ... ta-rights/
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Unread post15 Nov 2019, 11:51

So, last month during the 478 aircraft block buy announcement it was, “...the aircraft are performing exceptionally well...” from DoD acquisition leadership. Hmmm... :whistle:
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Unread post15 Nov 2019, 20:07

Further F-35 ALIS Fixes in Progress as Pentagon Tackles Jet Costs [BEST READ AT SOURCE]
13 Nov 2019 Rachel S. Cohen

"The F-35 is making progress but still faces major hurdles with its logistics system, intellectual property, supply chain, and more, officials overseeing the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program told lawmakers on Capitol Hill Nov. 13. Program leadership laid out a path to turn one of the key challenges, the underperforming Autonomic Logistics Information System, into a functional tool for operations and maintenance data as it’s meant to be....

...“Over the past year, the department has delivered three ALIS software updates and we are on track to release quarterly releases to rapidly improve current performance—a vast improvement from the 18 months between software updates in the past,” Lord [Pentagon acquisition chief Ellen Lord] added in written testimony. “Our efforts to stabilize and improve the usability of ALIS has driven trouble reports down 38 percent from their peak. These efforts mitigate risk while the department charts a path to the future of ALIS that will help deliver a more ready fleet at a lower cost."...

...“Upcoming software releases include the capability for centralized administration, bulk administration of Portable Maintenance Aids, and squadron resource sharing,” Fick wrote. “These initiatives will reduce the requirements for on-site administration of the current ALIS system with an estimated decrease in life [cycle] costs of $1.9 billion, nearly a 6.5 percent cost reduction.”

Robert Behler, the Pentagon’s director of operational test and evaluation, noted the data the F-35 sends to the Air Operations Center, which manages sorties overseas, is subpar. He suggested the AOC could use an ALIS terminal or software-defined radios to gather data on the plane in real time. [???]

Officials are working through other areas as well. Intellectual property disputes, an issue that piqued the interest of multiple lawmakers, has slowed the program’s ability to connect to the Pentagon’s Joint Simulation Environment—a major wargaming system the F-35 must work with to complete its initial test phase. Behler said the JSE won’t be ready to start the final phase of operational testing with the F-35 until July 2020.

The initial integration of the JSE and F-35 was held up by an IP dispute between Lockheed and the government, Fick said [ F-35 Program Executive Officer Lt. Gen. Eric Fick]. He told lawmakers that DOD agreed to accept less IP data than it might want, but still reserved the right to challenge Lockheed if it didn’t release certain information the Pentagon wanted. Lockheed protested that arrangement, and its complaint currently sits with the Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals. DOD doesn’t necessarily need every piece of IP data, but Fick said the program is still figuring out which information is crucial to making the F-35 a better product.

“One of the key elements of coming up with a new ALIS architecture, and … data standards, and all the other parts that would make a very good system, is understanding the entire data set as it exists today, what all the algorithms are, and we are still in the process of going through that with Lockheed Martin,” Lord added. “Understanding where all of the intellectual property is and making sure the government has access to what it has paid for is a key portion of rearchitecting ALIS.”...

...The F-35 Joint Program Office saw a 9 percent drop in cost per flying hour in 2019 compared to the previous year, according to Fick’s written testimony."

Source: http://www.airforcemag.com/Features/Pag ... Costs.aspx
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Unread post16 Nov 2019, 18:09

spazsinbad wrote:
Further F-35 ALIS Fixes in Progress as Pentagon Tackles Jet Costs [BEST READ AT SOURCE]
13 Nov 2019 Rachel S. Cohen

...but Fick said the program is still figuring out which information is crucial to making the F-35 a better product.

“One of the key elements of coming up with a new ALIS architecture, and … data standards, and all the other parts that would make a very good system, is understanding the entire data set as it exists today, what all the algorithms are, and we are still in the process of going through that with Lockheed Martin,” Lord added. “Understanding where all of the intellectual property is and making sure the government has access to what it has paid for is a key portion of rearchitecting ALIS.”...


Source: http://www.airforcemag.com/Features/Pag ... Costs.aspx


Sorry... not sorry.

"the program is still figuring out which information is crucial" ... ???

The government doesn't know? Sounds like a major failing of the gummint in not know what they bought.

It's the government's game. They set the rules. Contractors tend to stick to the rules, religiously... usually because the gummint audits the snot out of them (also driving up costs) and the fines for not conforming to contracts can be expen$ive.

While I suspect LM could probably have done a better job with ALIS, it also sounds like the gummint is getting exactly what it specified and paid for. So the government... the same institution that spend $billions on some basic medical insurance website boondoggle, thinks it can save ALIS by creating a better one? :doh: Except it doesn't know what the data and algorithms are? And they're going to wave a magic wand and fix it in 2-3 years? :bang:
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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