The Australian F-35A Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Program has achieved another milestone with the F-35A’s Autonomic Logistics Information System (ALIS) achieving its first Cybersecurity Accreditation from the Royal Australian Air Force and the Defence Chief Information Officer Group (CIOG).
“A Cybersecurity Accreditation confirms that ALIS has sufficient protection measures in place to counter external and internal cybersecurity threats,” Head of JSF Division, Air Vice-Marshal Leigh Gordon explained.
“For the Australian F-35A Program, this accreditation authorises [ALIS] to be operated in Australia and be connected to existing Defence networks,” he said.
AVM Gordon said ALIS is a highly integrated information system that has been designed to support all aspects of the F-35 life cycle.
“ALIS will be used by the Australian F-35A community to manage maintenance and sustainment tasks, perform pre-flight mission planning and support post mission analysis.”
“The system has been designed in concert with the F-35 to ensure it can meet the information demands of a complex fifth generation fighter jet,” AVM Gordon said.
To manage and sustain the highly complex F-35 information environment, the Australian F-35A Program has built a dedicated information systems centre, the Off-Board Information Systems Centre (OBISC) at RAAF Base Williamtown. The facility is unique to Australia and offers an edge over other F-35 Partner nations.
“The OBISC provides Australia with an environment in which we can simulate the F-35 information system to test its true capability, much like an aircraft simulator,” AVM Gordon said.
“The value of the OBISC continues to increase as we identify more and more novel ways to use it.”
“The benefits that the OBISC offers Australia have been equally recognised by international F-35 Partners, many of whom have expressed an interest in using or developing a similar capability.”
JSF Information Systems Security Engineer Flight Lieutenant Reece said it is personally and professionally rewarding to be part of the team that achieved the first Cybersecurity Accreditation for the Australian F-35A Program.
The Australian team responsible for achieving the first F-35A Autonomic Logistics Information System (ALIS) Cybersecurity Accreditation (L-R) Chris Walsh, Mark Bilbrough, Scott Jenkinson, Anu Edirisooriya, Bill Patton, Steven Paterson, Jane Holzapfel, Anon. by request, FLTLT Shaun Reece, and Daryl Melhuish. Credit: Defence
“The team has spent countless hours behind the scenes examining technical system designs and evaluating them against Australian requirements in order to justify why the system should be granted an accreditation,” he said.
AVM Gordon said the achievement could not have been possible without the continued support from Defence’s CIOG, with several of its embedded within the JSF Integrated Project Team.
“We look forward to building on the great relationship we already have with CIOG as we move closer to declaring Initial Operating Capability in late 2020,” AVM Gordon said.
System accreditation is not an end-state and many challenges lie ahead as the project moves into sustainment, however according to AVM Gordon the Australian F-35A team is well equipped to ensure the F-35A capability is appropriately protected as the system design evolves and new cybersecurity threats are identified.
The OBISC is expected to become operational from early 2017.