By Mike Stone
(Reuters) - Lockheed Martin Corp will announce on Wednesday that the U.S. Air Force and Navy have approved installation of the newest version of the F-35 fighter jet's computer-based logistics system incorporating engine data for the first time, people familiar with the program said.
Lockheed's Autonomic Logistics Information System (ALIS) enables daily operations of the F-35 fleet, ranging from mission planning and flight scheduling to repairs and scheduled maintenance, as well as the tracking and ordering of parts.
Software version 2.0.2 is five months late, but the approval paves the way for the system's deployment across the F-35 Lightning II training and testing program, the two people said on condition of anonymity.
A Pentagon representative declined comment on the software's approval.
This update marks the first time ALIS will take in data from the jet's propulsion system allowing maintenance crews insight into the wear and tear on the engine.
After this milestone, Bethesda, Maryland-based Lockheed is pursuing further updates to the ALIS system. The long-term goal is to cut maintenance time and facilitate spare parts distribution giving greater efficiency to the F-35 fleet. Future versions of the software will be faster and more fully into the flight bases the warehouses around the world supporting the stealthy jet.
(Reporting by Mike Stone in Washington DC; Editing by Bernard Orr)