The F-35 is far more than just an aircraft. The supporting systems and infrastructure that underpin the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) are critical to sustaining the capability well into the future – and establishing these systems is an international effort.
Squadron Leader (SQNLDR) Jody Hillier, the Supply Chain Management Lead in the JSF Division, served in the United States from May 2014 until January 2018 as the Supply Chain Management Integrated Product Lead at the F-35 Joint Program Office (JPO).
During the Australian F-35A Project Management Review in September, the Assistant Program Director for Logistics and Sustainment in the JPO, Dan Fri, presented SQNLDR Hillier with a US Meritorious Service Medal for her enormous contribution to the global F-35 Program.
“SQNLDR Hiller contributed to the development of standardised procedures for the safe and secure warehousing of hazardous and non-hazardous supplies and materials on a global scale,” Mr Fri said.
“In this assignment of tremendous international importance, SQNLDR Hillier's outstanding leadership, exemplary foresight and ceaseless efforts contributed immensely to the successful execution of the F-35 supply chain management strategy across the three US Services, eight Partner Nations and three Foreign Military Sales (FMS) customers.”
SQNLDR Hillier said she was honoured and humbled by the efforts of her US and international hierarchy to ensure her work was acknowledged and rewarded.
“The portfolio I managed was extensive, allowing me to identify and implement critical courses of action to assist the warfighter to meet their operational needs, as well as provide strategic value to the F-35 enterprise,” SQNLDR Hillier said.
“I was able to address sustainment planning and supply chain concerns for the US Services, Partner Nations and FMS customers and incorporate them into the global F-35 supply architecture. I then passed these experiences back to Australia, which assisted in addressing programmatic supply chain management issues and positively influencing solutions.”
SQNLDR Hillier said being part of a large international project team allowed her to work with and form an extensive global network of friends and colleagues that would “last a lifetime”.
“Since returning to Australia, I’ve been able to reach out to my colleagues to run issues past them and gain an understanding of their experiences and challenges,” she said.
“This has been valuable in enhancing Australia’s understanding of the Global Support Solution and effective supply chain operations as we move closer to activation later this year.”
SQNLDR Hillier said the rapid rate of global activation, balancing the priorities, disposition of spares and managing the subsequent activity required resources and systems to be in place to support the F-35 Program.
“Planning is key and requires input from experts from Partner Nations across the F-35 enterprise – this all takes precise coordination to be effective,” she said.
SQNLDR Hillier said she was thrilled to be part of the fifth-generation workforce supporting the delivery of the F-35A capability for Australia.
“The underpinning support systems for the F-35A are innovative and provide opportunities for Australia – both the ADF and Australian industry,” she said.
“The F-35A will have decades-long impact for Australia and how we sustain the aircraft for the life of the capability is essential for success.”
What is the Global Support Solution?
-- The F-35 was designed with sustainment in mind. The Autonomic Logistics Information System (ALIS) is the logistics backbone for the F-35. Pilots plan and debrief missions, and sustainment professionals maintain the F-35 using ALIS. Delivering an integrated interface to maintenance, supply chain and sustainment information, ALIS is the single management tool supporting all F-35 operations.
-- The international F-35 fleet is supported by a Global Support Solution (GSS) that allows users to benefit from increased capability, availability and affordability through economies of scale, interoperability and international cooperation.
-- The Australian F-35A sustainment solution is based on leveraging upon and integrating with the F-35 GSS while ensuring that Sovereign Sustainment Requirements are satisfied.