Defense

July 26, 2012

DOD approves plan to lift F-22 restrictions

Tags:
by MSgt. Amaani Lyle
Air Force News

An F-22 Raptor from the Hawaii Air National Guard’s 199th Fighter Squadron returns to a training mission after refueling March 27, 2012, over the Pacific Ocean near the Hawaiian Islands. During the training, U.S. Air Force Academy cadets received a familiarization flight to get a better understanding of the Air Force’s global reach capabilities.

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz said here July 24 the Air Force has data indicating the cause of the F-22 Raptor’s hypoxia-related incidents stem from the quantity, not the quality, of oxygen available in the cockpit.

“Given tests in the altitude chamber and the centrifuge, we have confirmed that there is a combination of hardware-related items that have created breathing problems for our pilots,” Schwartz said.

A valve in the upper pressure garment worn by pilots during high-altitude missions was causing the vest to inflate, and remain inflated, resulting in increased pressure on the pilot’s chest, he said.

The Air Force will replace the upper pressure garment vest valve. Additional measures to improve airflow include the April decision to remove the C2A1 filter, which was previously used to test for contaminants in the cockpit, as well as future efforts to explore improving the oxygen delivery hose and its physical connections, he said.

“We have a deliberate plan underway now both to modify that equipment, to test that equipment under the most demanding conditions, and that will begin to hit the field in September,” Schwartz said. “Given the limitations the Secretary of Defense has imposed until those improvements are fielded, we are confident that we have managed the risk associated with continuing operations in the F-22.”

Schwartz said the Air Force will continue updating Defense Secretary Leon Panetta to demonstrate the results of the improvements.

In May, Panetta directed the Air Force to limit all F-22 flights to remain near potential landing locations to enable quick recovery and landing should a pilot encounter oxygen deprivation. The secretary also directed the Air Force to expedite the installation of an automatic backup oxygen system in all of the planes, and he asked for monthly progress reports as the service continued the search for the root cause of the problem.

These actions were in addition to steps the Air Force already was taking to determine the root causes of the hypoxia-like symptoms that some pilots experienced.

An F-22 Raptor with the 1st Fighter Wing from Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va. pulls into position to accept fuel from a KC-135 Stratotanker with the 756th Air Refueling Squadron, Joint Base Andrews Naval Air Facility, Md., May 10, 2012. The first Raptor assigned to the Wing arrived Jan. 7, 2005.

Following an Air Force briefing last week, Panetta decided to gradually lift restrictions on the aircraft. He authorized the Air Force to deploy a squadron-sized element of F-22s to Kadena Air Base, Japan, via the Northern Pacific transit route, Pentagon Press Secretary George Little briefed reporters earlier in the day.

Schwartz said the Air Force will take proactive steps for the deployment, to include placing an F-22 pilot on the tanker accompanying the fighters so that a Raptor expert can offer advice as needed in the immediate vicinity of the deploying aircraft.

“The tanker will have sufficient fuel aboard should the formation need to descend to a lower altitude to make its destination,” Schwartz said. “These are the kinds of prudent aviator risk management actions that we’re taking for this deployment.”

Initial long-duration flight routes will be designed to pass near airfields. The Air Force also has imposed an altitude restriction on the aircraft so pilots will not need to wear the pressure vest.

Training sorties will remain near runways until completion of the Air Force Scientific Advisory Board-recommended corrective actions expected by the end of the summer.

The Air Force will notify Panetta when fixes are in place for the pressure vest and related cockpit life support components. Pending successful completion of associated testing and NASA’s independent analysis, Panetta will consider returning the F-22 fleet to normal operations.

The F-22 aircraft have flown more than 7,000 sorties, accumulating more than 9,000 hours since the last unexplained incident involving hypoxia-like symptoms occurred March 8.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

News Briefs August 18, 2014

New U.S. strikes in Iraq include land-based bombers The latest round of U.S. airstrikes in Iraq against the Islamic State extremist group includes the first reported use of land-based bombers in the military campaign. U.S. Central Command says a combination of bombers, fighter jets, attack planes and unmanned drones hit targets near Iraq’s largest dam...
 
 

Headlines August 18, 2014

News NATO would respond militarily to Crimea-style infiltration: general If Russia tries to infiltrate troops into a NATO country, even out of official military uniform as it did before it annexed Ukraine’s Crimea, NATO will respond militarily, the alliance’s top commander said in an interview published Aug. 17. http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/08/17/us-ukraine-crisis-breedlove-i...
 
 

U.S. Navy to test, evaluate Lockheed Martin industrial exoskeletons

Lockheed Martin has received a contract through the National Center for Manufacturing Sciences for the U.S. Navy to evaluate and test two FORTIS exoskeletons. This marks the first procurement of Lockheed Martin’s exoskeletons for industrial use. Terms of the contract were not disclosed. The FORTIS exoskeleton is an unpowered, lightweight exoskeleton that increases an operator’s...
 

 

Orbital completes third cargo delivery mission to ISS

Orbital Sciences Corporation, one of the world’s leading space technology companies, announced Aug. 18 the successful completion of its third cargo delivery mission to the International Space Station in the past 10 months, including the initial demonstration flight completed in October 2013 and the first two operational missions under the company’s $1.9 billion Commercial Resupply...
 
 

Brown extends tax credit to Northrop Grumman

California Gov. Jerry Brown has signed legislation that extends a $420 million state tax credit to aerospace giant Northrop Grumman after approving a similar deal for its competitor, Lockheed Martin. Brown’s office announced Aug. 15 that he signed SB718 by Sens. Richard Roth, D-Riverside, and Sen. Stephen Knight, R-Palmdale. It expands an aerospace tax credit...
 
 
Air Force photograph by SSgt. Sean Martin

Bomber crews showcase take-off talents

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F_8qr7ojpWg&feature=player_embedded Air Force photograph by SSgt. Sean Martin A B-52H Stratofortress starts its engines during a Minimum Interval Takeoff on Barksdale Air Force Base, La., Au...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>