Robert Behler, the Pentagon’s director of operational test and evaluation, is delaying Initial Operational Test and Evaluation for the F-35 until the program addresses several software issues. Mr. Behler writes that operational testing cannot begin until the program updates versions of the aircraft’s operating software, mission-data files, Autonomic Logistics Information System (ALIS), and testing range infrastructure software. The next version of the F-35’s operating software should add the capabilities of the aircraft to perform several key combat missions including strategic attack, air interdiction, offensive counter air, and electronic attack. The Mission Data Loads are large files of maps, threat electronic signals, data on potential enemy weapons, as well as friendly systems to enable the F-35’s sensors to sort friend from foe. ALIS is the much-troubled maintenance and logistics network that combines embedded diagnostics functions, supply chain management, and maintenance guidance.
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