‘Flying data centres’ to be kept operationally ready with the help of Splunk Enterprise
Splunk’s software is set to be deployed to monitor and analyse the IT systems and network behavior for a platform called the Autonomic Logisitics Information System (ALIS), which Lockheed Martin describes as the off-board IT ‘backbone’ to the F-35 Lightning program.
ALIS is used to keep check on the fleet’s overall readiness in both the US and countries where the 5th generation fighter is deployed. First flown in 2006, there are now 115 operational F-35s used by the US Air Force, US Navy, US Marine Corps and the RAF.
Flying data centres
“Splunk is a proven leader in analysing and visualising machine data, and we are pleased to support this critical program,” said Bill Cull, vice president of global public sector, Splunk. “F-35 aircraft are flying data centres that generate a massive amount of information on each flight. The IT systems and applications supporting this program are essential, and Splunk Enterprise’s role is to support daily ALIS operations.”
The F-35 was Lockheed Martin’s potential solution for replacing multiple aircraft currently in use, namely the F-16 Falcon, A-10 Warthog and the F/A-18 Hornet. However, the program, which has so far cost almost $600 billion, has been plagued with problems from the outstart. Most notably, software bugs with the Lightning pilots’ $400,000 helmets caused tension between Lockheed Martin and the Pentagon.
The main role of Splunk’s ‘Enterprise’ software in the program will be to address operational maintenance challenges, provide better visibility into system performances, and to identify and solve issues quickly to keep up peak performance.
The F-35 Lightning II, which evolved from Lockheed Martin’s X-35 test aircraft that competed and eventually won in the Joint Strike Fighter program against Boeing’s X-32, comes in three main variants: the conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) F-35A; the short takeoff and vertical landing (STOVL) F-35B; and the aircraft carrier version F-35C which features folding wingtips to increase carrier capacity of the fighter.