UPDATED: F-35B Operations in Yuma Resume After Temporary Halt Due to Software Update Issues

June 23, 2017 2:19 PM - Updated: June 23, 2017 8:43 PM
A U.S. Marine Corps F-35B II Lighting assigned to Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 211 (VMFA-211) lands in order to hot load during Weapons and Tactics Instructor Course (WTI) 2-17 at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Ariz., March 30, 2017. US Marine Corps photo.

This post has been updated after the Marine Corps announced the end of the operational stand-down.

Flight operations in Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 211 resumed after a temporary one-day suspension to fix a problem related to a software update with the aircraft’s Autonomic Logistics Information System, the Marine Corps announced.

“Maj. Gen. Mark Wise, Commanding General of 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, made the decision to temporarily suspend VMFA-211 flight operations pending fixes to a recent ALIS software upgrade within version 2.0.2 that has presented some anomalies,” 3rd Aircraft Wing spokesman Maj. Kurt Stahl said in a Thursday afternoon statement, noting that those anomalies “are related to maintenance codes not being reflected properly in the system.”
“There is nothing wrong with the performance or safety of the aircraft itself, but it is imperative that we ensure the ground-based ALIS system is working properly before flight operations continue. The Joint Program Office and Lockheed Martin have dispatched system engineers to help resolve these issues associated with the ALIS software update.”

F-35 Joint Program Office and Lockheed Martin officials began working on the software immediately to resolve the anomalies.

“The F-35 Joint Program Office (JPO) and Lockheed Martin Action Team has identified the root cause and generated the software fix to resolve the issues identified by the USMC with their F-35 MCAS Yuma based Autonomic Logistics Information System (ALIS), the management backbone for the F-35 Lightning II,” the JPO announced in a Friday evening statement.
“With this fix, VMAF-211 at MCAS Yuma resumed flight operations today. The JPO with LM will continue to monitor and improve ALIS performance to ensure our warfighters have the required F-35 air systems to operate safely and effectively.”

“The issues associated with the ALIS software update have been mitigated at MCAS Yuma. The performance and safety of the aircraft itself was not compromised by this software update. Reliability of equipment and safety of our personnel are among the Marine Corps’ top priorities as we continue transitioning our legacy aircraft to the F-35 in the coming years,” the Marine Corps added in the Friday evening statement.

Stahl said only VMFA-211 was affected by the stand-down, which does not apply to the Japan-based VMFA-121. Marine Corps headquarters spokeswoman Capt. Sarah Burns told USNI News earlier on Friday that VMFA-121 had not yet uploaded the software update and would wait for a fix to be discovered before installing the new ALIS software for its squadron. VMFA-211 was the first to attempt the software update and therefore was the one to discover the issues, she said.

VMFA-211 had been conducting day-to-day flight operations in Yuma, Ariz., and preparing for the Red Flag combat training exercise at Nellis Air Force Base beginning July 10, Stahl said, noting that the squadron still intends to participate in the exercise despite the short pause in operations.

Megan Eckstein

Megan Eckstein

Megan Eckstein is the former deputy editor for USNI News.

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