F-35 Joint Program Office completes initial deployment of new, improved logistics hardware

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  • By F-35 Joint Program Office
  • F-35 Joint Program Office

In January, the F-35 Joint Program Office (JPO), in partnership with Lockheed Martin, achieved another milestone in the transition of the Autonomic Logistics Information System (ALIS) to the modernized F-35 Operational Data Integrated Network (ODIN) logistics information system by fielding the first 14 sets of new ODIN hardware to F-35 squadrons on schedule, and within budget.

Beginning in July 2021, personnel from the JPO, Lockheed Martin, and local squadron crews installed the new computer hardware, called the ODIN Base Kit (OBK), at sites in the United States and in Europe. This completes the initial phase of ODIN hardware rollout, replacing all first-generation unclassified ALIS servers in the field.

The following locations received initial OBK hardware between July 2021 and January 2022:

• Naval Air Station Lemoore, California
• Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada
• Hill Air Force Base, Utah
• Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska
• Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, California
• Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, South Carolina
• Lockheed Martin Aeronautics factory, Ft. Worth, Texas
• Eglin Air Force Base, Florida
• Luke Air Force Base, Arizona
• Edwards Air Force Base, California (three OBKs installed)
• Amendola Air Base, Italy
• Portsmouth Naval Base, UK

Successfully fielding OBK hardware overseas as well as at locations in the United States signifies major progress and international suitability of the new F-35 logistics information system architecture for global fleet operations. In addition to recent installations in the United Kingdom and Italy, two of the three OBKs installed in December 2021 at Edwards Air Force Base support U.S.-based test operations for the United Kingdom and for the Netherlands.

“Recent global OBK installations mark a major milestone in modernizing the F-35 logistics information systems in support of global operations,” stated F-35 Program Executive Officer, Lt. Gen. Eric Fick. “This was a team effort between the Department of Defense, defense industry, and our F-35 Partners, and is a giant step forward in support of international logistics and operational management of the global and expanding F-35 fleet.”

In addition to the 14 OBKs deployed as part of this effort there is one supporting the United States Marine Corps test squadron VMX-1 at Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Yuma, Arizona; and another supporting the F-35 Integrated Test Force’s (ITF) flight test operations based at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland.

OBKs are now in use by all three U.S. services that operate the F-35 – Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps. OBKs are also in use by three F-35 Partner countries – the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and Italy. The new hardware is supporting operating squadrons, training squadrons, and test and evaluation squadrons.

Additional OBK units are set to be delivered in 2022 as the F-35 program’s global logistics infrastructure continues to expand.

Designed by Lockheed Martin, the OBK replaces the legacy ALIS computer hardware called the Standard Operating Unit - Unclassified (SOU-U) server. The new ODIN hardware is 75% smaller and lighter than previous hardware and was procured at nearly 30% lower cost. The new OBK unit is designed to run both ALIS software, as well as future ODIN software applications.

The installations at each of the sites were accomplished by uniformed military maintenance personnel, assisted by experts from JPO and Lockheed Martin, with the systems ready for operation in a matter of days.

“This new server hardware has proven to be a valuable successor to the aging ALIS system hardware, one that offers a significant performance upgrade, at lower cost, and in a readily supportable package,” said Air Force Col. Dan Smith, JPO maintenance systems program manager charged with overseeing ALIS and ODIN. “OBK allows us to replace hardware before obsolescence issues become critical and it allows us to provide better service to the maintainers.”

As announced by the U.S. Department of Defense in early in 2020, ODIN is the planned replacement for ALIS. The successful fielding of ODIN hardware is an important step in the evolution to a modern, capable, portable, and affordable logistics information system for the F-35 fleet.

The OBK is smaller and lighter than legacy ALIS hardware, consisting of just two modules weighing under 100 pounds each. ODIN’s next-generation computing performance decreases processing times by as much as 50% and provides enhanced system security and administration. Capitalizing on available commercial components, ODIN servers are inherently more serviceable and supportable. Following the demonstrated success of OBKs in 2021, all new U.S. and international squadron stand-ups will be outfitted with OBKs. 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. Final phase out of all SOU-U hardware is dependent on funding availability and scheduling constraints for operational squadrons.

“We’re excited about the improvements ushered in by the ODIN Base Kit in 2021 and look forward to outfitting the entire fleet with this enhanced capability as schedules and funding permit. OBK feedback has been overwhelmingly positive and will save our F-35 maintainers time and operating costs throughout the maintenance lifecycle,” said Smith.

Looking ahead, JPO and Lockheed Martin are working together to further extend affordability and performance advantages of the OBK, by designing and evaluating improved hardware for classified functions, and by further reducing the workload of system administrators at OBK sites. The JPO will complete the design and begin replacement of the classified OBK hardware in late 2022. “These benefits will be realized as the OBK is extended across the entirety of the F-35 fleet,” Smith added.

For additional information, visit www.jsf.mil.