27 Oct 16. New F-35 Software Could Quell ALIS Sovereignty Concerns. Lockheed Martin will begin studying options for adding a software filter to the system that tracks maintenance and training data for the F-35 fighter as part of an effort to limit the amount of data that gets shared with US-based contractors over concerns about privacy and sovereignty.
The US government intends to award a sole source contract to F-35 prime Lockheed to conduct a trade study for connecting a “sovereign data gateway” (SDG) to the autonomic logistics information system (ALIS), according to a 17 October Federal Business Opportunities website announcement.
Lockheed’s ALIS is programmed to keep track of thousands of operational details about the F-35 fleet, including data from health monitoring systems on board the aircraft as well as the training and flight logs for each of the pilots. As the global data hub, ALIS is supposed to order parts and schedule training as they are needed, saving operators the burden of managing and back-filling spare inventories. For the system to work, the jet must automatically transmit information after and even during each flight by an F-35 to Lockheed’s ALIS hub in Fort Worth, Texas. But that automated stream of data also worries some of the F-35’s international customers.
(defence-aerospace.com EDITOR’S NOTE: While it is good that Lockheed is beginning to acknowledge user concerns about the ALIS system, the proposed fix – if it ever is finalized – will only allay part of the growing unease about the ALIS system.
Two other and far more serious problems have not been addressed to date: one is Lockheed’s ownership of the ALIS intellectual property, which means it alone will be in a position to decide when, where and at what cost F-35 operators will be able to operate and maintain their aircraft.
The second is ALIS’s dependence on the Internet for communications between user terminals and the main ALIS server in Fort Worth, Texas, which will have absolute control over the F-35 system.
We explored the vulnerability that dependence on Internet creates for F-35 users, US and foreign alike, a year ago, in US Software Stranglehold Threatens F-35 Foreign Operations. It now remains to be seen if this and other controversial ALIS features are in fact modified to allay operator concerns.) (Source: defence-aerospace.com/FlightGlobal)
26 Oct 16. DoD Official Discusses U.S. Military, Commercial Space Industry. The United States must make sure space services are always available to its warfighters, Douglas L. Loverro, deputy assistant secretary of defense for space policy said Oct. 24 at the Center for Strategic and International Studies here.
Space services cannot be “taken away,” he said, “because there are too many sources with too many different strong points versus weak points, and we can assure our soldiers and sailors the use of space capabilities when going into a conflict.”
Loverro was a panel member for a discussion about the CSIS Aerospace Security Project, and panel members discussed ways that the U.S. military can better leverage commercial space capabilities and what policy measures would support a thriving U.S. commercial space industry, according to the CSIS site.
Loverro outlined some of the challenges the United States faces and why they are fundamental to what the nation needs to do between the military and the commercial world.
“There are people who want to take space capabilities away from the United States,” he said, noting that nations that would do so would take away the leverage the United States gets from its space capabilities.
Space Fundamental to Warfighting
“Space is fundamental to everything we do in conventional war [and] everything we do in nuclear war,” he said. “So we have come to depend on our space capabilities.”
Fighting wars without the use of space is not a viable option, he added.
“To fight war … without space is really an anathema to us because it means that our sol