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. …

  1. malle-herbert
    Joke

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

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

    1. wolfetone

      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.

      1. phuzz Silver badge
        Gimp

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

        Windows for Warplanes.

        1. stu 4

          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.

      2. gazthejourno (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).

      3. tony2heads

        Vista

        We're going to die!

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Cloud..

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

    1. Anonymous Coward
      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.

      1. ridley

        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?

        1. Ol' Grumpy
          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" ? ;)

      2. Anonymous Coward
        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?"

        !!!

    2. Trigonoceps occipitalis Silver badge

      Re: The Cloud..

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

  3. Michael H.F. Wilkinson
    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

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: ALIS?

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

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. Mark 85 Silver badge

      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.

    4. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: ALIS?

      "who the f*** is ALIS?"

      She lives next door.

      1. David Roberts Silver badge

        Re: ALIS?

        She lived next door.

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

  4. Anonymous Coward
    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.

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      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.

    2. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      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.

      1. Nolveys
        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.

      2. Voland's right hand Silver badge

        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.

      3. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        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 .....

      4. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

        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.

      5. Captain DaFt

        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.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          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

  5. saif

    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.

    1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
      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...

      1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
        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. "

    2. ridley

      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.

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

        Re: National security

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

        Failure comes in many modes

        1. Peter2 Silver badge

          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.

          1. Benno

            Re: National security

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

            :)

      2. david 12

        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?

    3. Dabooka

      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.

  6. Jeroen Braamhaar

    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 ...

    1. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

      Re: old military wisdom has it ...

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

    2. WonkoTheSane

      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.

      1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
        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.

        1. Solmyr ibn Wali Barad

          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.

      2. ridley

        Re: old military wisdom has it ...

        Pedant mode.

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

        Pendant off

    3. ridley

      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.

      1. Mark 85 Silver badge

        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.

        1. JLV

          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.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      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.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: old military wisdom has it ...

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

        1. Anonymous Coward
          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.

          1. Peter2 Silver badge

            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.

            1. JLV

              >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.

              1. Mark 85 Silver badge

                Re: >Germans tanks were 5 times better

                Germany did not, strangely enough, really fully go to a war economy until fairly late in the game,

                The German mentality at the beginning of the war did create a lot of problems. They tied fighter production to the number of pilots that could be trained. Thus, no spares. When the air war moved to Europe and Germany, this hurt them badly as they could recover pilots but had no planes for them to use.

              2. Peter2 Silver badge

                Re: >Germans tanks were 5 times better

                "Musta sucked big time gang-rushing Tigers, using flammable petrol/gasoline-burning M4s mounting short 75s..."

                The Germans called the Sherman the Tommy Cooker, and the British crews of the sherman called it the Ronson, an advert for a popular lighter which was advertised with the catchphrase "lights first time, every time". Rushing a Tiger was only really a problem if you were American though as a British troop of 4 shermans had a Sherman Firefly attached, armed with a 17 pound gun that could punch holes through the front of a King Tiger at a mile. US forces were offered the Firefly and turned it down since such a heavy gun was "not invented here" and also "unnecessary". Oops.

                re. the tank production figures. Germany did not, strangely enough, really fully go to a war economy until fairly late in the game, 43?

                Germany really had no reason to go all out until around 1943. Look at it from their point of view. They had beaten and conquered everybody other than Britain by 1941, and by the start of 1942 were they were sitting outside Moscow stopped as much by the weather as by the Russians. By modern Russian figures up to 40% of the tanks facing the Germans at Moscow were British, supplied via the artic convoys. The Germans are choking off those convoys with surface ships and the Luftwaffe.

                If your in charge of Germany, are you panicking about your tank production at this point? That Russia is outproducing America(!) in tanks despite the loss of large areas of industry that you've captured doesn't become obvious midway through the year, at which point you simply place bigger orders for your own tanks. That there is need for desperate and drastic measures doesn't become obvious until later on.

                Ok. Problem admitted, let's ramp up production. You've also got a problem mein Furher. Britain is hellbent on blockading you and is merrily sinking your freighters from Norway and Sweeden left right and centre. Russia was supplying a lot of your iron that was getting through to you, but you've now attacked them and they are using that Iron to build tanks with and aren't interested in selling it to you. The British are also putting massive diplomatic pressure on overland sources of supply to Nazi Germany such as Turkey with dire threats about "AFTER THE WAR!". Where does the additional material come from?

                Add to this the bombing offenses steaily bombing infrastructure flat into 1943 and the position becomes hopeless. Oh yes, and your critically low on fuel as the best sources are in the Middle East, and Britain is has more troops facing Rommel than it has in the UK and appears quite determined to keep Rommel away from the oil. Italy is complaining that they haven't even got enough fuel for their Battleships to go and sink the convoys carrying fuel from Egypt past their coast. The Luftwaffe are complaining that they are running out of fuel for their fighters, and the 25% of your petrol stocks are being generated by turning coal into fuel by the Fischer–Tropsch process.

                When the American's add an extra 50% (by bomb weight dropped) to the RAF's efforts to systematically bomb german oil flat then the result is dire. Luftwaffe Field Marshal Erhard Milch, referring to the consequences of the Oil Campaign, claimed that "The British left us with deep and bleeding wounds, but the Americans stabbed us in the heart." and Albert Speer, writing in his memoir, said that "It meant the end of German armaments production."

              3. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

                Re: >Germans tanks were 5 times better

                So the war could have been shortened by dropping battalions of management consultants and marketing executives to persuade the Germans to take a customer focussed agile manufacturing process - where the military changes their mind all the time and the kit is delivered late, obsolete and in much smaller numbers?

                1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

                  Re: >Germans tanks were 5 times better

                  So the war could have been shortened by dropping battalions of management consultants and marketing executives to persuade the Germans to take a customer focussed agile manufacturing process - where the military changes their mind all the time and the kit is delivered late, obsolete and in much smaller numbers?

                  Not, it was over very much earlier.

                  Check out this infographic

                  1. Peter2 Silver badge

                    Re: >Germans tanks were 5 times better

                    So the war could have been shortened by dropping battalions of management consultants and marketing executives to persuade the Germans to take a customer focussed agile manufacturing process - where the military changes their mind all the time and the kit is delivered late, obsolete and in much smaller numbers?

                    The war was shortened this way. Both the Panther and Tiger arrived about two years too late to swing the war, were hopelessly and chronically unreliable (very important when your retreating constantly as breaking down means you lose the tank) and delivered in relatively tiny numbers compared to somewhat crap tanks the allies fielded which had the virtues of being cheap, reliable and capable of being delivered in truly immense numbers.

                    1. Citizen99

                      Re: >Germans tanks were 5 times better

                      Another point which I suspect is relevant - the Tiger was comparatively ponderous, and by the last years was effectively a semi-mobile pillbox that most effectively lurked in defensive ambush mode. Whereas, the Allied tanks were used in advancing armies and were more optimised for mobility.

  7. A Non e-mouse Silver badge
    FAIL

    WTF?

    Buggy software means plugging in and syncing [...] sometimes takes so long that impatient crews disconnect them halfway through the process. This results in [...] having to reset the affected laptops.

    Who the heck designed a system that can't cope with connection loss? These things aren't going to be working in an idealised lab, but out in the field where things break.

    1. theblackhand

      Re: WTF?

      My understanding of things military indicates that the solution to these connection issues is to design a very expensive proprietary plug to address the issue.

      Maybe a special USB connection with a screw in security latch that takes techs a minute to screw in/unscrew and thus avoid premature disconnection?

      How many millions you say? I'll sell them to you for the low low price of US$500k a plane to cover the specialised nature of the design and manufacturing process...

      1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
        Unhappy

        "US$500k a plane to cover the specialised nature of the design and manufacturing process..."

        And the testing.

        Got to be passed by all the relevant MilSpec entries.

        Of which I'm sure there are many.

    2. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Headmaster

      Re: WTF?

      Who the heck designed a system that can't cope with connection loss? These things aren't going to be working in an idealised lab, but out in the field where things break.

      I think the pervasiveness of this kind of sophomoric crap in commercial (and also open-source systems cough) now has progressed to the point where it is acceptable to see it in high-reliability systems.

      (The whole RPC paradigm is basically a testament to connection optimism in the service of self-serving convenience)

  8. Strahd Ivarius Bronze badge

    How to ground a F-35

    If I understand well you just have to find the laptop it can sync with and steal it...

    1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: How to ground a F-35

      They seem to be doing that quite well so far on their own without any outside assistance...

  9. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese

    ALIS sounds like a good idea in principle, but if there's one thing that I've learned from my (far too) many years in the software development business, it's this: don't be clever - cleverness always gets you into trouble one way or another.

    With ALIS it's not as though it's solving a problem that needs to be solved. Every air force in the world has a way of managing logistics which works well enough for them to operate. Is something as clever as ALIS really needed? Maybe, but probably not...and there has to be a point where it's starting to look like such a nightmare that it ought to be canned in favour of a simpler, less techy approach

    1. Chris G Silver badge

      One of the good bits about ALIS is

      "This, warned the director, would result in key functionality being released as updates to v3.0 instead of being baked into the “final” software package deployed to F-35 customers – including the UK."

      I can just see an RAF pilot on the start of an attack, everything freezes but suddenly a window opens on the HUD, "Continue flying in a straight line.

      Installing Update 4 of 7"

  10. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

    Go stick your head in a pig

    SIRIUS CYBERNETICS CORPORATION PRODUCTS

    It is very easy to be blinded to the essential uselessness of them by the sense of achievement you get from getting them to work at all

    In other words - and this is the rock solid principle on which the whole of the Corporation's Galaxy-wide success is founded - their fundamental design flaws are completely hidden by their superficial design flaws.

    SHARE AND ENJOY

    The company motto of the hugely successful Sirius Cybernetics Corporation Complaints division, which now covers the major land masses of three medium sized planets and is the only part of the Corporation to have shown a consistent profit in recent years.

    The motto stands - or rather stood - in three mile high illuminated letters near the Complaints Department spaceport on Eadrax. Unfortunately its weight was such that shortly after it was erected, the ground beneath the letters caved in and they dropped for nearly half their length through the offices of many talented young complaints executives - now deceased.

    The protruding upper halves of the letters now appear, in the local language, to read "Go stick your head in a pig", and are no longer illuminated, except at times of special celebration.

    http://www.sput.nl/~rob/sirius.html nicked from the late Douglas Adams.

  11. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    WTF?

    "temperamental when ground crew plug their Panasonic Toughbook diagnostic laptops"

    Back in the day a UK company called Husky computers used to make rugged laptops. One of the more novel accessories they provided was a 19pin plug to connect to the Rapier SAM for on board checkout (AFAIK Rapier was the only design win for the Ferranti designed F100 bipolar microprocessor)

    Never saw any stories about connection failure.

    Do you get the feeling the LM design, coding and test process is FUBAR?

  12. Inventor of the Marmite Laser

    The F35

    ALIS' adventures in Blunderland

    1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Thumb Up

      "ALIS' adventures in Blunderland"

      Upvoted for originality.

  13. Potemkine Silver badge
    Trollface

    Controversially, it also sends each jet’s history back to the US, regardless of which country actually owns that aircraft

    No problem, a "basic telemetry plan" will be added in the next release.

    1. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
      Happy

      Imagine, flying along in your F-35, doing whatever you should be doing, when suddenly, a loud <BONG!> sounds in your headset, and all displays in the aircraft simultaneously show a red box, containing the following text:

      A NEW VERSION OF ADOBE ACROBAT IS READY TO INSTALL

      <YES> <LATER>

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's a classic example

    ALIS wants to send encrypted information to BOB.

  15. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

    In BG the Cylons disabled all modern battle ships by injecting a virus. Only the old decomissioned ships, and a few that were out of contactable range (remembering liberally here), avoided paralysis.

    Now, if the laptop needs to communicate to a central, and then be hooked up to the aircraft..

    I'm sure there is a lesson here somewhere..

    Non-fictional examples would include Israel's mucking about with Iran's centrifuges.

  16. Andy 97

    Exceptional cock-up.

    Someone in procurement needs to be shown the door and their gold-plated final salary pension frozen until they retire.

    However, I'd suggest that the minister who took the advice from whatever military team will escape completely unscathed, along with the posh lads who went on all the 'paid jolleys' to Lockheed Martin, but I stand to be corrected.

  17. /dev/null

    Makes you wonder how on earth air forces managed to keep their fleets of old-school fighters - such as the original (BAC) Lightning - flying for decades, without Toughbooks, Internet Explorer, or any of that stuff.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The good old days

      Makes you wonder how on earth air forces managed to keep their fleets of old-school fighters - such as the original (BAC) Lightning - flying for decades, without Toughbooks, Internet Explorer, or any of that stuff.

      Mustaches, Woodbines and good old British ingenuity

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The good old days

        I say!

  18. kmac499

    Call the AA

    On more than one occasion a nice AA patrolman has plugged his rufty tufty laptop inrto my car and figured out what was wrong with it.

    Maybe we could get a Homestart sunscription for the F35s

  19. Woza
    Joke

    Smokie Hardware

    I don't know why she's crashing, or when she's gonna load,

    I guess she's got her reasons, but I just don't wanna know

    'Cause for 24 months I've been living next door to ALIS.

  20. JLV

    All this crap about the F35 reminded me of the F111

    The F111 started out as a do-all, for everyone fighter/strike. It was even supposed to be on carriers*. In finale, you can see that it got kinda semi-deployed, but quickly ended up in specialized roles and in limited numbers and other planes ended up doing its jobs.

    That this plane was a dud was mostly in my memory and wikipedia entries on military gear mostly tend to be sanitized as regards to failures. Then I went and found this little opinion piece that just screamed "F35".

    http://bayourenaissanceman.blogspot.ca/2010/11/weekend-wings-37-f-111-aardvark-part-1.html

    Basically, he posits that the project's main point of failure was that it pursued too many technological breakthroughs on the F111's development.

    """

    Five new technologies caused the greatest difficulties. They were:

    Variable geometry wings incorporating high lift devices;

    Turbofan powerplants and associated systems and structures;

    The need for new metal alloys;

    A sophisticated, automated navigation and weapons delivery system; and

    A novel crew escape system.

    """

    Remind you of anything? New helmet, new engine setup for multiple configuration, jack of all trades, a weird new approach to monolithic logistics software...

    At least the F35 ground crews have it easy. F111 fuel tanks had to be crawled into to clean them from the inside, breathing vapors all the while. Many of the mechanics have consequently been extremely sick.

    * No Marines STOL version sought, a regrettable oversight.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: All this crap about the F35 reminded me of the F111

      In Europe, we had the Panavia Tornado...

  21. newspuppy
    Coat

    Who Knew...

    that so many El Reg readers were WW II buffs....

    thanks @JLV, @Mark 85, @Peter2

    As to the concept of having everything centralized? Yea... Brilliantly Stupid... (BS)

    The danger of security being an add on, rather then designed in from the start... is that the security can be bypassed.....

    The danger is that we have all the brilliant people wanting to work for the "G" company... Not General Dynamics... but Google... so GD gets the people that couldn't get a job elsewhere... or... worse, if they get a smart dedicated guy, he is crushed by the bureaucratic incompetence that passes for infrastructure in GD.

    Another issue, is that fresh kids these days are taught using frameworks and other high level concepts... and just miss the details of what is really going on... or... in the case of real life... what FAILS to work reliably.... and ... we have a cascading set of failures....

    The good news is when they move to the new version of Windows X (Sorry Windows 10), there shall be no more blue screens... Rumor has it that a bonus depended on the number of blue screens in win X.... so now they are ..... GREEN...... and... BLUE SCREENS are now GONE!

    Let me go sailing while the world falls apart..... :(

  22. AndGregor
    Coat

    Based on your recent bombing activity..

    We have compiled a list of suggested products: 4 x Air to Surface Missiles, 2 x Air to Air Missiles. Click Here for 1-click ordering.

  23. David Roberts Silver badge
    WTF?

    Keep trying until you find a laptop that works?

    So (I am making the generous assumption that the didn't just try connecting the same one several times and found that worked eventually) the specialised laptops essential for support don't have a standard hardware/software build?

    Or is the software so crap that once the standard build has connected to one aircraft and been used successfully then it is borked for some/all future use unless rebuilt?

    I have the (possibly unworthy) suspicion that there may be several (many?) variants of the airframe interface and several (many?) builds of the laptop interface which could lead to interesting times.

    Whatever, for those wondering what idiot could design a system which was broken by an unplanned disconnect I would respectfully point to the humble external drive.

  24. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Unhappy

    ALIS Chief Architect is listed as " Scott LaChance"

    According to the presentation here

    As in "There's a chance this software might work eventually."

    You could make this stuff but no one would believe you.

  25. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    IT Angle

    Interesting note. Most of the F35 SW is written in C/C++. Ada no longer mandated.

    Because getting Ada trained devs cost more.

    OTOH writing reliable C/C++ code that passes testing and does not fail is tougher

    As US taxpayers are discovering.

  26. uncommon_sense
    Joke

    Let the RDL's test(eat) their own dork food!

    Sounds OK to let the Hegemony test this, not the UK!

    Do you really want to be used as Crash Testing Pommies?

    Bad enough to be Living Next Door To ALIS..

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