A penetration test is the practice of testing a computer system or network to find vulnerabilities that an attacker could exploit.
ALIS, or the Automatic Logistics Information System, is the operational and management system for the F-35. It will serve both the pilots, in terms of mission data and track pilot training, and the aircraft, by tracking maintenance data.
The MoD has been engaged in a programme of testing of ALIS since 2010. Since purchasing a squadron level ALIS server in 2010, the MoD have run numerous trials in the UK which have been supported by industry partners BAE Systems and Lockheed Martin.
The following is a response to a written parliamentary question.
“To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether his Department has undertaken a programme of independent penetration testing of the Autonomous Logistics Information System on board the F35B Lightning II fighter.”
“The Autonomous Logistics Information System is part of the ground based information system and is not fitted on board the F-35B Lightning II fighter aircraft. Both the Autonomous Logistics Information System and the F-35B Lightning II fighter aircraft have been subject to a comprehensive independent programme of penetration testing.
Risk assessments of the Autonomous Logistics Information System and its interfaces with the F-35B Lightning II fighter are conducted continuously throughout the test programme. All classified data transmissions to and from the F-35B Lightning II fighter aircraft are fully encrypted.”
The trial programme has seen the simulation of all aspects of ALIS functionality, across mission planning, logistics and engineering support. This trial programme is scheduled to continue throughout the introduction of the F-35 Lightning II and the Queen Elizabeth Class Carriers, testing and proving the interoperability of ALIS with UK systems & regulation and business processes, both ashore and afloat. As such, this trial programme significantly reduces risks to deployment of ALIS in support of UK F-35 Lightning II operations.
Fixed ALIS Servers will be fielded at RAF Marham, HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales. Separately, the MoD plans to acquire deployable ALIS Servers for use from detached mobile operating bases ashore. The MoD will retain full access to ALIS data relating to UK Aircraft.