I had to check on the date of that article as ALIS was identified as an issue in April of 2015. I heard McMaverick screaming about something on NPR a couple of days back, this must have been what it was about. Oddly enough, around that same time his Campaign Fundraiser was being arrested at her home because there was a meth lab there, along with unspecified quantities of LSD, cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, about $7,000 in loose currency, and counterfeit money. A separate building on the property was found to have a hidden room that was to be used as a marijuana-grow facility.
Yeah, I think McMaverick's got bigger problems closer to home. Especially since a group of four Marine maintainers from MCAS Beaufort (the training hub for the F-35B for both the USMC and the UK), told reporters during an April 14, 2016 visit that ALIS has made their life easier.
One Marine cited the direction it gives a team of maintainers.“Walking you step through step. There’s literally a signoff for every task you do, every action you do,” he said.
“Compared to how it was originally, it’s night and day,” said another when asked about updates to the system. “The transition has been good. Every upgrade they do is easy to get ahold of, get your head around. It’s been pretty consistent as far as maintainability.”
All four men also agreed that they would recommend ALIS, or some equivalent system, for future aircraft, although they noted that logistically it would be almost impossible to retrofit such a system to existing aircraft like the F-18.
Part of the benefit of the system, the maintainers said, was the support Lockheed provides. Because ALIS is tied into Lockheed’s system, and because Lockheed contractors are integrated into the maintenance teams at Beaufort, needed parts can come quickly.
“There is a benefit to F-35 when you have a parts availability issue we can talk directly to Lockheed Martin and tell them this jet is non mission capable because of this part and they’re going to work as hard as they can to get us that part as quickly as possible,” the first maintainer said. “We can get that part in a matter of days as opposed to months.”
Another Marine compared that to the F-18, where sometimes one jet need to be “cannibalized” in order to come up with a needed part for another.
Overall, maintenance on the F-35 is “ten times easier” than on an F-18, said the first maintainer. He acknowledged that the low-observable capabilities “can slow you down at times, but it’s obviously a needed weapon system so worth the pace we have to stall on.”
Concluded a third Marine, “I am more than satisfied with it and seeing it grow and seeing it change. There’s not as much troubleshooting anymore so maintenance times are definitely up.”
The Marines also noted how the UK maintainers working at Beaufort have integrated smoothly with their US counterparts, noting they all work interchangeably on American or UK jets.