It’s almost certain the Air Force will declare initial operating capability with the F-35A closer to Oct. 1 than the long-planned Aug. 1 target date. Top Pentagon acquisition, program, test, and audit officials told members of the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday the F-35’s Autonomic Logistics Information System is the sole culprit for the probable delay. The government-operated ALIS needs to be able to talk with the computer systems of both Lockheed Martin, which builds the F-35, and Pratt & Whitney, which makes its F135 engine, and doing that has been a challenge, particularly given the need to maintain cyber protections at all levels, program director Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan said. “All is on track for 1 August 16,” Bogdan said—noting that Hill AFB, Utah, will likely have the necessary jets and maintainers in place by then, “except for ALIS,” which he said is “probably 60 days behind.” Pentagon acquisition chief Frank Kendall said it’s the Air Force that will decide what minimum capability it deems “acceptable” for IOC, but he said he suspected that, like the Marine Corps, USAF won’t declare IOC unless it’s “comfortable” the jet will work as expected with the 3i software package. Both Bogdan and Kendall agreed that F-35 IOC will certainly happen before the mandatory December deadline, noting that August has always been the desired date.