Between last July and this month, the F-35 program and Lockheed Martin [LMT] fielded the first 14 sets of new, unclassified logistics information hardware, the Operational Data Integrated Network (ODIN) base kit (OBK), for F-35 operational squadrons, the F-35 Joint Program Office (JPO) said on Jan. 31.
The installations of the Lockheed Martin-designed OBK came at a dozen locations, the JPO said: Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif.; Nellis AFB, Nev.; Hill AFB, Utah; Eielson AFB, Alaska; Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Miramar, Calif.; MCAS Beaufort, S.C.; the Lockheed Martin aeronautics factory in Fort Worth, Texas; Eglin AFB, Fla.; Luke AFB, Ariz.; Edwards AFB, Calif., which got three OBKs; Amendola Air Base, Italy; and Portsmouth Naval Base, United Kingdom.
The installations replaced the the more than two decade-old Autonomic Logistics Information System (ALIS) Standard Operating Unit-Unclassified (SOU-U) server. The OBKs at the 12 locations complete “the initial phase of ODIN hardware rollout, replacing all first-generation unclassified ALIS servers in the field,” the JPO said.
The F-35 program’s use of the cloud-based ODIN may save funds, as the program looks to reduce sustainment and cost-per-flying hour costs (Defense Daily, Oct. 6, 2021).
While ALIS has 891 pounds of hardware, ODIN is to have just 50 pounds of hardware, and the JPO said that the procurement cost for OBK hardware was 30 percent lower than for ALIS. The JPO said that OBK is designed to run ALIS software and future ODIN software applications.
Lockheed Martin has said that the F-35 program sought an initial operational capability for ODIN last fall, followed by full operational capability a year later. But it appears that FOC may depend upon how F-35 logistics ranks in the service priority funding scale.
“As part of a larger technology transition strategy, JPO will continue the replacement of all remaining SOU-U servers with OBK hardware in 2022-2023,” the JPO said. “Final phase out of all SOU-U hardware is dependent on funding availability and scheduling constraints for operational squadrons.”
U.S. Air Force Col. Dan Smith, JPO maintenance systems program manager, said in a JPO statement that OBK “allows us to replace hardware before obsolescence issues become critical and it allows us to provide better service to the maintainers.”
Smith said that the F-35 program looks forward “to outfitting the entire fleet with this enhanced capability as schedules and funding permit.”
In September, 2020 the Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA) and Lockheed Martin said that they had agreed on nearly $70.6 million in expected company investments to fix faulty electronic equipment logbooks (EELs) (Defense Daily, Sept. 30, 2020). The EELs help gauge part health. DCMA and Lockheed Martin had been negotiating a possible repayment by Lockheed Martin of $183 million to $303 million of awarded federal funds to the federal government for EEL defects in ALIS.
Since 2014, the Government Accountability Office has called on DoD to establish a performance management process for the F-35’s ALIS, but to no avail.
About 1,000 parts of the 50,000 parts on the F-35 require an EEL that designates a given part as Ready-for-Issue (RFI) and able to be installed on the F-35. The EEL includes part history and remaining part service life in hours.
Air Force Lt. Gen. Eric Fick, the F-35 program executive officer, said in 2020 that the program, in one effort to address the ALIS issues, is thinking about removing the EEL requirement for about 600 spare parts that are not safety critical nor life limited.
The JPO said on Jan. 31 that it expects more deliveries of OBK kits this year.