The F-35 Lightning II Joint Program Office (JPO), in partnership with Lockheed Martin, has achieved a milestone in the transition to the modernized Operational Data Integrated Network (ODIN) F-35 logistics information system by deploying ODIN hardware to two F-35 squadrons. Personnel from the JPO, Lockheed Martin, and local squadron maintenance crews completed the installation of new computer hardware called the ODIN Base Kit (OBK) July 16 at Naval Air Station Lemoore, California, in support of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 125, and Aug. 6 at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, in support of the 422nd Test and Evaluation Squadron (TES).
As announced early in 2020, ODIN is the planned replacement of the F-35 Autonomic Logistics Information Systems (ALIS). The successful deployment of this new ODIN hardware is an important step in the evolution to a modern, capable, and affordable logistics information system for the F-35 fleet. Designed by Lockheed Martin, the OBK replaces the legacy ALIS computer hardware called the Standard Operating Unit unclassified (SOU-U) server. The new ODIN hardware is 75% smaller and lighter, has a nearly 30% lower cost, and is designed to run both the current ALIS software, as well as its future replacement ODIN software applications and data environment.
These are the first of 14 scheduled OBK deployments from July 2021 through early 2022. With the installations at Lemoore and Nellis, there are three OBKs installed with F-35 Squadrons – one from each U.S. service. In September 2020, the United States Marine Corps test squadron VMX-1 at Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Yuma, Arizona, successfully evaluated the ODIN hardware over 30 days of testing, and the OBK hardware has remained in service there since installation. There is one additional OBK installed at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland, where it is a key element of the F-35 Integrated Test Force’s flight test operations.
The installations at Lemoore and Nellis were both accomplished by military maintenance personnel assisted by experts from JPO and Lockheed Martin. At each site, the hardware installation and set-up were complete and systems ready for operation in a matter of days, demonstrating the suitability and ease of use for administrators of this new hardware. Planning is underway to replace all remaining SOU-U servers starting in 2022. The timeline to complete upgrades will depend on available funding and squadron operational constraints.
The new hardware design offers numerous improvements over the existing ALIS servers. Immediately obvious is its reduced size, with two transportable suitcase-sized cases replacing a full rack of electronics, thus reducing weight from over 800 pounds to just two modules weighing under 100 pounds each. Its next-generation computing performance improves the user experience by demonstrating processing times decreased by as much as 50%, system interactions with similarly reduced wait times, and improved efficiency in system administration. Looking ahead, JPO and Lockheed Martin are working together to further extend affordability advantages of the OBK.