F-35 to Tap Airbus for Data Protection Technology

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Unread post11 Jul 2016, 02:32

F-35 to Tap Airbus for Data Protection Technology
10 Jul 2016 Andrew Chuter

"LONDON - British F-35s will use Airbus technology to help store, distribute and protect encrypted information on the combat jet when it comes into operation in 2018.

Airbus Defence and Space has secured a deal to supply what’s known as local key management system (LKMS) technology for the strike aircraft... in a deal recently struck with the British Ministry of Defence.

The deal could open the door to sales of the technology to a restricted list of other air forces, including F-35 customers.

“I see no reason why we cannot offer this technology to other F-35 users,” said Phil Jones, the head of cyber security operations for Airbus Defence in the UK.

The high sensitivity of the ITAR-free technology may mean Airbus will have to develop an export version for all but a handful of countries, he said....

...LKMS receives, translates and packages cryptographic keys so that they can be loaded using a single hand held device into what are known as end crypto units (ECUs) on the aircraft. Input of the crypto information is through a single plug and socket rather than the seven or eight interface points and different handheld devices required previously.

Company officials said the technology permits prolonged out-of-area operation through providing the ability to store and distribute multiple cryptographic keys.

The technology also provides high levels of protection for encrypted data by preventing data compromise that could threaten the safety and security of an aircraft mission, they said....

Source: http://www.defensenews.com/story/defens ... /86925068/
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Unread post11 Jul 2016, 15:10

Airbus Wins RAF Crypto Contracts For Voyager, C-130J And F-35
11 Jul 2016 Angus Batey

"..."The contracts means Airbus D&S now supplies its LKMS (Local Key Management System) solution to five UK platforms. The company had previously been selected to provide LKMS to the RAF’s Airbus A400M and Eurofighter Typhoon fleets. Having a single common tool and a single system for staff to learn will bring significant cost and time savings, but Peter Grogan, Airbus D&S’s head of business development for cybersecurity, stresses that this is a side effect, not the primary reason for the awards.

“All these decisions have been made independently by the individual aircraft project teams,” he says. “It’s being done on a case-by-case, platform-by-platform basis. We’re excited, because clearly we’re demonstrating a value for money and a capability that meets the user requirements – but it’s the synergies across the different platform types from a central core that offers defense a really significant capability at a very effective price.”

As military platforms become increasingly dependent on digital subsystems, the task of managing cryptographic keys becomes more vital, challenging and potentially burdensome. Any subsystem that stores data – not just those that transmit them – has to be secured to prevent an adversary being able to access potentially useful information. Strong encryption requires keys – large digital files – that need to be changed frequently.

The more complicated, networked and sophisticated the platform, the more systems there are that require keys. This can mean ground crews having to change keys by plugging computer equipment into several different parts of the aircraft, possibly before every sortie.

LKMS is a software-based system with a physical device, known colloquially as a “fill gun,” which connects to a single point on the aircraft and can upload a complete set of keys across multiple subsystems in minutes. The device will not change with aircraft type, though Grogan acknowledges that some platforms may need some adaptation to the interface.

“Sometimes you might have a different pin-out between a European platform and a U.S. platform,” he says, “but that’s easy to fix. It’s like plugging something in to a [mains electricity] converter when you go abroad. But it’s the same common core capability that sits at the heart of all these solutions, and this is why defense gets ever-increasing efficiencies the more we can use this developed capability.”

Perhaps the most demanding of the three new programs is the F-35. The jet includes a plethora of avionics, weapons and mission systems that require key management, and it is intended that this work will be done through the ALIS (autonomic logistics information system) network. For the F-35, therefore, some software adaptation may be necessary, in addition to possible physical adaptation to allow the fill gun to connect to ALIS equipment.

“The main method of delivery to the aircraft is through the ALIS system,” Grogan says. “We’re fully aware that the UK key-management system needs to prepare material for the ALIS system, and we’re working closely with Lockheed Martin through DE&S [Defence Equipment & Support, the MoD’s procurement and project-management wing] to ensure this material is formatted correctly.”

Timescales for this work remain under discussion. The sovereign nature of encryption-key solutions means that there is only so much that can get done without a British-based JSF for the Airbus team to get their hands on.

“The next stage for us is the practical one – when there’s an F-35B over here that we can actually start to do the keys on,” Grogan says. “My understanding is that the flight trials and training so far have been carried out using set, standard keys – they haven’t yet begun to load up all the different elements of the aircraft concurrently with all the different keys. We’ve had close engagement with the project team and with appropriate elements of the RAF for quite a few months now on the optimum way that LKMS can be used for F-35, but it’s still a work in progress.”..."

Source: http://aviationweek.com/shownews/airbus ... j-and-f-35
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