The head of the U.S. Defense Department’s F-35 program said the number of “deficiencies” in the stealth fighter jet’s hardware and software is decreasing but that hundreds of technical challenges remain.
Speaking to reporters last week in his offices in Arlington, Virginia, Air Force Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan discussed a range of issues affecting the Pentagon’s biggest weapons program at nearly $400 billion, including the hundreds of lingering deficiency reports, or DRs, known as “technical debt” in acquisition parlance.
“There are 419 things that we have yet to decide with the war fighters how we’re going to fix them, whether we’re going to fix them and when we’re going to fix them,” he said. The figure was three times higher a few years ago and “we think the technical debt that we have — the deficiencies that we have — are things that we can handle … within the next two years,” he said.
Mission Systems, ALIS
When asked what technical areas were causing the deficiency reports, Bogdan said most of the issues were related to software for the aircraft’s mission systems, including radar and sensors, and inventory system, known as the Autonomic Logistics Information System, or ALIS (pronounced “Alice”), which determines whether the plane is safe to fly.
In the past couple of years, the program office and contractor overhauled the development and fielding of the logistics system, Bogdan said. Prime contractor Lockheed Martin Corp., for example, reassigned more engineers to improve the software, “changed out” management of the system in the company’s Mission Systems and Training unit in Orlando and added more oversight from officials in its larger Aeronautics business, he said.
“At the time, we were treating it like a piece of support equipment, not recognizing that it has twice as much code in it as the airplane,” he said.
Full article: F-35 Stealth Fighter Still Has 419 ‘Deficiencies,’ Manager Says (DefenseTech)