back to article Oh ALIS, don't keep us waiting: F-35 jet's software 'delayed'

Key software for the troubled F-35 fighter jet has been repeatedly delayed, causing problems for the British armed forces as they wait for Americans to iron out the bugs. The F-35’s Autonomic Logistics Information System (ALIS) is the heart of the support offering bundled with the F-35 by its manufacturer, Lockheed Martin. …

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Joke

"it also sends each jet’s history back to the US"...

Let me guess... The laptops are running Windows 10 ?

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Re: "it also sends each jet’s history back to the US"...

No, it's been in development for years. So they'll probably be running some bastardised version of Windows Vista. Windows 10 doesn't support its own software well, let alone older code.

Sorry for opening up old wounds everyone.

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Gimp

Re: "it also sends each jet’s history back to the US"...

Windows for Warplanes.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: Re: "it also sends each jet’s history back to the US"...

ALIS versions 1.x were built on XP. ALIS versions 2.x run on Win 7. Internet Explorer is the approved access method, and IE8 was the last version which would run smoothly on both XP and Win 7 (at least, so says Wikipedia).

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Vista

We're going to die!

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Re: "it also sends each jet’s history back to the US"...

"windows for warplanes" - you jest - but I can see it now....

2017 and windows is still baffled when you plug in a USB peripheral into a different USB port from the one it was in before "what on earth could this be - an F-35 you say.. never seen one of those before in port2 , let me just check windows for driver, cause like though I've got some installed for port1 thats clearly irrelevant right...ah - NO DRIVERS found.. failed to install F-35"...

And anyway, I mean how fecking bad can the programmers be to not manage to get a basic sync working - maybe they should have based it all in Arducopter - that syncs just fine every time.

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Anonymous Coward

The Cloud..

Where planes bought from the US operate and also send their flight data too...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The Cloud..

Worse. It is integrated to mission planning and munitions supply and logistics as well.

If memory serves me right, you cannot plan missions for more than one month in stand-alone mode. After that you have to report to ALIS mothership and provide USA with full flight path data, full telemetry and full bill of materials of what you have flown in order for the system to continue to function.

Anybody purchasing this outside the USA should be tried under their respective grand treason statute for their country.

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Re: The Cloud..

Well the it all kicks off then you target the ALIS mothership, J Goldblum style probably. No Alis mothership then no F35's at least not after a month.

Can you imagine the flight plan on the 30th day of no ALISMS?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The Cloud..

"After that you have to report to ALIS mothership and provide USA with full flight path data, full telemetry and full bill of materials of what you have flown in order for the system to continue to function."

Clickety-Click.

Connect Y/N?

Y

DONG!

???

"You seem to have a few F-35 licenses which expire soon. Do you want help with renewal?"

!!!

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Joke

Re: The Cloud..

You get a message in the bottom right hand corner of the HUD suggesting this version of ALIS might "not be genuine" ? ;)

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Re: The Cloud..

You appear to be trying to bomb New York, I can't help you with that.

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Coat

ALIS?

who the f*** is ALIS?

Sorry, couldn't resist. I'll get me coat. The one with Jane's All the World's Aircraft in the pocket please

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Anonymous Coward

Re: ALIS?

It's Uncle Sam in drag. [Part of a series on Transgender topics]

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This post has been deleted by its author

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Re: ALIS?

who the f*** is ALIS?

I thought everyone knew....she owns the restaurant and makes a Thanksgiving Dinner that can't be beat.

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Re: ALIS?

"who the f*** is ALIS?"

She lives next door.

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Re: ALIS?

She lived next door.

Gotta get used to not living next door.....

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Anonymous Coward

"...view flight plans, and review each jet’s entire history from the moment it leaves the factory..."

There were some issues in the Vietnam era of military operations occurring over the wrong country, all denied etc etc... Now when the aircraft gets shot down, whoever finds it can probably look back and KNOW where the aircraft has been. Could get messy if its the "wrong" side that finds the smoldering wreckage.

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Could get messy if its the "wrong" side that finds the smoldering wreckage.

Fixed it for you: Could get messy if its the "wrong" side that finds the smoldering DIGITAL wreckage.

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Unhappy

" whoever finds it can probably look back and KNOW where the aircraft has been"

Absolutely not (as I'm sure LM would tell people)

No one has any idea of the protocol used to transfer the data.

Any notion that dullards future insurgents could get into the system, let alone ready that data is quite absurd.

Honest.

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Paris Hilton

Re: " whoever finds it can probably look back and KNOW where the aircraft has been"

No one has any idea of the protocol used to transfer the data.

Not even the programmers know.

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Re: " whoever finds it can probably look back and KNOW where the aircraft has been"

No one has any idea of the protocol used to transfer the data.

That is fairly obvious - you just need to look at the delivery dates. Clearly, neither the QA testers nor the programmers know it too.

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Re: " whoever finds it can probably look back and KNOW where the aircraft has been"

>Any notion that dullards future insurgents could get into the system, let alone ready that data is quite absurd.

Any notion that Chinese/Russian/Etc computer security experts could get into the system .....

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Re: " whoever finds it can probably look back and KNOW where the aircraft has been"

Any notion that dullards future insurgents could get into the system, let alone ready that data is quite absurd.

Yup. You would need a deprogrammed protocol droid for that.

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Re: " whoever finds it can probably look back and KNOW where the aircraft has been"

"Any notion that dullards future insurgents could get into the system, let alone ready that data is quite absurd.

Honest."

admin/password can't be that difficult to figure out.

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Re: " whoever finds it can probably look back and KNOW where the aircraft has been"

The password is very closely guarded by every technician at every US and foreign customer airbase, everyone at Lockheed Martin and by everyone in the DoD - with so many people guarding the password it is very safe.

It might be useful if it was possible to change it from the default - but that would make the system more complicated

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National security

So, interface is Internet Explorer (the 3rd or 4th most secure browser), can not connect unless security at the base station is reduced and then proceeds to send all mission data (apart from the pilots name) to US.... Great. Should meet all the RAF's requirements for a utility.

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Trollface

Re: National security

The cynic in me also wonders if they need a specific version of IE.

It would be par for the course if this only worked on IE5...

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Joke

Re: National security

"We see you are using an ad blocker. LM Logistics Services is entirely supported by advertising. Please disable you're ad blocker to proceed with mission planning or logistics replenishment. "

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Re: National security

IE not secure? Not according to my system admin. He refuses to countenance Chrome etc on the basis that MS is Business Standard, Secure and Professional.

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Re: National security

on the basis that MS is Business Standard, Secure and Professional

Failure comes in many modes

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Re: National security

To be fair, the one advantage of IE is that it's installed on everything and comes with a handy set of group policies which lets you force settings on users stopping them from doing things. Chrome was designed around the users and so doesn't give much in the way of central control although it's a "better" web browser than MSIE.

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Re: National security

You should be grateful, it's been in development for so long it's a miracle you don't hear Joanna Lumley when it connects. I can imagine it now. And it explains the syncing issues, AOL never did like sharing connections.

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Re: National security

You mean like the Chrome ADM/ADMX files for Windows & the JSON files for Linux?

:)

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Re: National security

IE not secure? Not according to my system admin. He refuses to countenance Chrome etc on the basis that MS is Business Standard, Secure and Professional.

My sysAdmin doesn't agree. He makes everything more secure by also installing parrallel software so that he doesn't have to use MS. Another browser. Another shell. Another script. Another DHCP server. Another text editor. Another file copy utility. Another Another. Makes verything more secure, right?

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old military wisdom has it ...

...that the side with the simplest uniforms usually wins.

it could be suggested as a modern-day corollary that the side with the simplest servicable weapons has the better chance of victory too.

And since the only battle an F35 is likely to fight is the struggle to leave the ground - where the only clouds it is likeliest to see are composed of big data instead of big amounts of water vapor ... well ...

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Re: old military wisdom has it ...

I wonder if ALIS is going to be the Battle Analyzer from Superiority...

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Re: old military wisdom has it ...

"And since the only battle an F35 is likely to fight is the struggle to leave the ground - where the only clouds it is likeliest to see are composed of big data instead of big amounts of water vapor ... well ..."

I'm sure I read somewhere that the F35 doesn't do well with big amounts of water vapor either.

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Unhappy

"I'm sure I read somewhere that the F35 doesn't do well with big amounts of water vapor "r."

Not sure about that. IIRC that was the issue with one of the F117 stealth bombers over Sarajevo.

Turned out the stealth coating was just fine in the Middle Eastern atmosphere but over soggy Europe it broke down.

The crew thought they were flying a radar invisible aircraft.

They weren't.

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Re: old military wisdom has it ...

I seem to remember Chuck Yeager being an advocate of the F5 as it was Cheap, Rugged and most importantly not a hanger queen.

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Re: old military wisdom has it ...

Pedant mode.

Clouds are not water vapour but liquid water droplets. Water vapour is transparent.

Pendant off

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Re: "I'm sure I read somewhere that the F35 doesn't do well with big amounts of water vapor "r."

If you're referring to the one that got shot down - it was a combination of multiple factors. Experienced anti-air battery commander with a modified longwave radar, F-117 flying on a predictable flightpath with its bomb doors open, and some amount of good fortune. Maybe moisture affected things a bit, maybe it didn't, hard to say.

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Re: old military wisdom has it ...

Given the choice between loads of simpler weapons, or fewer complex ones, I'll have the former. Military types almost always go for the shinier, expensive thing, which means they end up with less of them. Follant Gnat vs Hawker Hunter is my fave example.

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Re: old military wisdom has it ...

Most of Germany's last road trip to Russia also springs to mind

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Anonymous Coward

Re: old military wisdom has it ...

To be fair, lower-rung German uniforms were pretty simple (even those of the party's armed forces), although "grandes uniformes" of people near the politicial death star were ludicrous. Germany just got done by its massive opponent throwing people into the shredder with great abandon. And also by being dumb enough by going on an irrational killing spree instead of a recruiting heavily.

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Re: old military wisdom has it ...

I think his comment about Germanys last trip to Russia is more to do with the equipment issues than the uniforms. As in the Germans turned out 2500 Tiger tanks of all marks, 6k Panthers and 8.5k Panzer 4's.

The Russians meanwhile turned out 85,000 T34's and the western allies chipped in 50,000 Shermans, exclusive of heavy tanks, tank destroyers etc which puts the figures at Germany having ~17,000 tanks vs 135,000 fielded by the allies. Even if you accepted that the Germans tanks were 5 times better than ours in WW2, that'd still only account for 17k * 5 = 85k of our tanks, which leaves 50k tanks left to run over their shattered remains. Which is pretty much what happened during WW2.

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JLV
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>Germans tanks were 5 times better

Check out Fury (it's on Netflix).

01:17:00 in, traipsing happily through the countryside. Action starts @ 01:18.

6 minutes of pure tank-gasm. Not a bad movie overall either. That scene had them taking the sole running Tiger left in the world out for a spin.

Upon seeing the tracers, my kids went "Star Wars! Star Wars!". Not sure how I think about that... a compliment to old school Star Wars esthetics getting something right? Seems fairly well researched otherwise. Musta sucked big time gang-rushing Tigers, using flammable petrol/gasoline-burning M4s mounting short 75s...

re. the tank production figures. Germany did not, strangely enough, really fully go to a war economy until fairly late in the game, 43? Hitler was trying to pull a Rumsfeld and carry out an invasion on the cheap. Second, German industry and military had a lot of issues with standardization. Vehicles would be produced in small amounts, but would not use standardized parts. The military would constantly have the stuff tweaked, but not in very production-efficient ways. So many many models of AFV, planes, .... And the logistics of spares were dreadful because of the high material variability. When people say that strategic bombing did not slow down Nazi production, they lose track that by 43-44, Speer had taken over, knocked heads together and that Hitler had finally gone on full war economy. So, yes, production would have gone up. Whether strategic bombing achieved much is still another debate though.

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Re: old military wisdom has it ...

I seem to remember Chuck Yeager being an advocate of the F5 as it was Cheap, Rugged and most importantly not a hanger queen.

Yes.. cheap and fairly impressive as it was picked to be the 'aggressor' in the Top Gun type of wargames as it mimicked the flight characteristics of some Russian fighters very well. But it was cheap and thus, not much pork there.

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JLV
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Re: old military wisdom has it ...

Not only that, Northrop later tried to resurrect it as the F20 Tigershark. Cheap and cheerful. Northrop did that on its own initiative, with their own money, reasoning it could make money out of a good-enough plane.

The USAF would not touch it - too cheap and did not go through their procurement (read 'not enough bacon being handed out'). Second and third world countries? "If it ain't good enough for the USAF, it sure ain't good enough for Pakistan!!!".

Taught those idiots a lesson! Never try to give the military good value if you can gold plate it.

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