AF: F-22s authorized to fly again

AF: F-22s authorized to fly again

Air Force officials had eagerly telegraphed the announcement, and now it’s out: The F-22 fleet has been cleared to return to flight status, although engineers do not have a permanent answer for the oxygen system problems that had initially sidelined the jets.

Forthwith, here are the relevant parts of the Air Force statement in full:

The commander of Air Combat Command directed a stand-down of the fleet May 3 as a safety precaution, following 12 separate reported incidents where pilots experienced hypoxia-like symptoms. The incidents occurred over a three-year period beginning in April 2008. Officials remain focused on the priorities of aircrew safety and combat readiness. The return-to-fly plan implements several risk mitigation actions, to include rigorous inspections, training on life support systems, and continued data collection.

“We now have enough insight from recent studies and investigations that a return to flight is prudent and appropriate,” [Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton] Schwartz said. “We’re managing the risks with our aircrews, and we’re continuing to study the F-22’s oxygen systems and collect data to improve its performance.”

In a task force approach to implementation, Air Combat Command officials developed a comprehensive incremental return-to-fly plan that balances safety and the expedient qualification of pilots against the inherent risks of flying advanced combat aircraft, officials said.

The entire fleet will undergo an extensive inspection of the life support systems before returning to flight, with follow-on daily inspections, officials said. The aircraft is capable and authorized to fly above 50,000 feet. Pilots will use additional protective equipment and undergo baseline physiological tests. The return-to-fly process will begin with instructor pilots and flight leads regaining their necessary proficiency, then follow with other F-22 wingmen.

Prior to the stand down, ACC officials convened a Class E Safety Investigation Board in January 2011 to look into hypoxia-related reports. At the same time, a Hypoxia Deep-Dive Integrated Product Team began an in-depth study on safety issues involving aircraft oxygen generation systems.

In June 2011, the Secretary of the Air Force directed the Air Force Scientific Advisory Board to continue the oxygen generation study concurrent with the ongoing SIB. A releasable report will be made available later this year.

So after four months of twiddling their thumbs, pilots and crews at last will get to return to their work and begin re-honing the combat edge that dulled during the grounding. Air Combat Command officials are crossing their fingers that they can catch potential problems with their slow ramp back to operating and these new daily inspections.

But the nagging technical issues and the forthcoming scientific report mean there are more shoes to drop here — so stay tuned.

Join the Conversation

Crappiest cockpit in a fighter airplane. It is unbelivable all the shortcuts they took in crew systems just to be able to say the aircraft met performance requirements. Damn disgrace.

400M+ per aircraft and I can see the simple entry into the ‘How to defeat an F-22′ guide.

Step 1. Fly above 40,000 feet. (Heck both the MiG-21 and 23 could fly over 60K)
Step 2. Profit.

..and the crowd responsible are building the F-35.….hmmm

At some point the PR cost to Lockheed of having the entire fleet grounded overtook the bad publicity of dead pilots — and they decided just to fly. No doubt all crashes from now will be loudly announced as pilot error — and why not, it’s harder to think of a bigger pilot error than to get into an aircraft with a faulty life support system.

Didn’t some report said every base flying f-22s less one had pilots test positive for petrol and hyd in their bloodstream?

Mitigating the risks for aircrew?

How many wars will we enter where this aircraft is sidelined?

Thanks lobbyists, way to go DoD, cheer Airforce-joke of the armed forces


When you’re using the same basic systems that we have used now for the past almost 30 years ‚that’s called mitigating risks on the R&D side . When you take guys and gals out of F-15s &F-16s and stick the in an F-22 that is a hell of a change. When you are in an F-15 or F-16 and you call out DEPARTED that’s an emergency, when you are departed in an F-22 that means nothing in most situations, the post stall maneuvering in the F-22 is probably better than anything in the air that’s not classified. And Maybe just maybe some of these pilots are performing maneuvers they can’t handle.

Good Evening Folks,

Well lets see two week ago the F-22’s oxygen system was cleared, now the USAF is going to study it.

Does this sound familiar butternuts?

Think F-15’s. A structural flaw in the airframes was know before the plane was put into production. It was determined that under restricted operational use the problem wouldn’t come up till about 5,000–6,000 hours of flight time. By then the F-15’s would have been replaced. The problem was dealt with in the E/F models.

Well of course we all know the recent history of the F-15. The F-22 is following the same script.

So what we are ending up with is an aircraft with a flying time bomb in it, but by the time it goes off, like the F-15 those responsible for this stupid decision are long gone. The problems with the F-22 are known, fix them or trash the F-22. Ignoring and not dealing with the problems is not the way to responsibility to deal with this problem that has the potential to take the lives of both civilians on the ground and aircrews.

The USAF and General Norton Schwartz are show a blatant disregard for American lives in approving this.

Byron Skinner

Did someone says Raffale ? Best Jet Fighter available so far.

Cite that report…

There were reports of mild hypoxia but I’ve never heard ANYTHING about airborne hydrocarbon contaminants in the system. If you’re just going to make stuff up at least make it believable.…

I think that he might be referring to this article or one that cites it.…

Ignorance is an interesting subject. Please enlighten me! Can we discuss the effects of modulation on bandwidth? Perhaps a quick discussion to enlighten me as to why VHF TV stations are spaced at 6 MHz, FM stereo stations at 800KHz, while lowly radio telegraphy (brass key and all) can operate with less than 1KHz of spacing? Then perhaps you can explain to me why a 5 to 10mhz modulation (which is the data bandwidt of a 4G cell phone signal) on a “carrier” in a band designed for much narrower modulations should be allowed to spread to the point of overlapping into adjacent internationally licensed bands and interfereing with an established and widely utilized service? :-) Ignorance can be cured…. :-)

Lockheed has a firm committment to good engineering. After all, their corporate vice-president of engineering has a “degree” from Rochester Business Institute. If they’d fixed this problem, then they wouldn’t be able to make any more money off of it. That’s the genius of the way the USAF does business. They pay a subcontractor a profit on every day it takes to fix a problem, then they wonder why problems take so long to fix. Gee, I wonder…

Way to go D.O.D.»>F-22 Rapter«< My favorite (F-35 a closing 2nd).

Hey — search f-22 contaminant on google if you want multiple other reports that are similar.

Good Morning Folks,

There has been some folks looking into the F-22’s problems outside of the USAF and some opinions are emerging. The one that is most interesting deals with the about 25 years of time the aircraft was in research and development before it went into production.

Although it is classified the thinking is that the materials for the airframe were specified and frozen into the contract early in the process. Meanwhile the power of the engines, the number of g’s the aircraft could take, the basic over all design and other factors changed and exceeded the material specifications of the air frame.

In short the USAF is most likely correct in saying the aircraft checks out and is sound but the materials used to construct the airframe and outer skin are old technology. Aircraft design technology I’m sure has moved ahead at a faster pace the metallurgical and carbon fiber technology.

Byron Skinner

First off, 25 years is a bit optimistic. I was involved with some of the initial display technology for the DDI’s back in 1976!

Second, I think that you are reaching a bit on trying to find some “scandal” worthy of discussing in the material specifications of the airframe. The skin or the mechanical tolerances might be “special” for signature purposes but titanium, aluminum and steel is still just titanium, aluminum and steel, and of course composite technology has “moved on” in the last 20 years, but… what hasnt! The fact that newer technolgy exists is not a reason to condemn the old! :-)

Whether it might fatigue a bit more quickly with the jocks trying to turn on a dime, will require a lot more service life than we have seen so far, and let me remind you that the good ole A-6, a Grumman Iron Works product, got somewhere between 4 and 6 sets of wings before it retired. If the F-22 had to be rewinged at some point in the future, I guess its just the life cycle for a fighter aircraft! :-)

If you want to watch some truely bodaceous “post stall” aerodynamics all you need to do is watch an airshow with a Su-35 or a MiG-29. A “Cobra maneuver” done at low altitude may not have a lot of combat utility but… for just plain flying qualities and engine stall/stagnation tolerance.….… . hmmmmmm!

Back in the day, there were quite a few F-15 and F-16 incidents where pilots with F-4 experience just did not expect to hold that 9G pull…(to the point that the AF modified its fitness program to avoid “marathoner’s blood pressure” for fighter jocks!) . . GLOC actually killed several!

IF the F-22 actually has more G’s hidden under the hood, it would not surprise me in the least if GLOC became an (un) popular acroynm again.


Well, I guess if it wasn’t broke, they didn’t fix it.

How much did the company contribute to campaigns to get this?

It seems that the idea of CO2 scrubbers and filters for the generation system was overlooked. Must have saved 80 pounds.

Get realistic people…12 pilots had problems over a couple years of flying, its not the end of the world by any means…how many people are injured or killed every day while at work in much less dangerous situations. Stop trying to quarterback the air force from your living room.

That 400 million number is deceptive. The plane costs much less then half that number. Four hundred million is total cost of operating each plane. And that includes everything that has anything to with operating this aircraft for it’s entire lifespan; pilots, training, everything. Using that accounting method would more then double the cost of anything from rifles, to trucks, to toilet paper. After all you don’t just buy toilet paper you have to ship it, there are handling costs in loading the truck, and unloading. The TP would have warehousing expenses and restocking charges; and finally transportations cost getting it from the warehouse to the user. And that may mean shipping it half way around the world.
So don’t try to make the F-22 look bad by using numbers like that without explaining them. The jets fly away cost is 143 million, not 400 million.

There was also a problem with the F-15 controls that allowed maintainers to install two flight control connections backwards causing the plane to do the opposite of the pilots command…things happen then they get fixed…how do you expect them to find an answer without flying? Why do you think they are only allowing the most experienced pilots to fly first? Probably because they know their own limits and how everything should feel so they know when there is an abnormality during flight.

While true Bronco those other 250-300M of costs are still incurred. Even if the F-22 sits menacingly in its hangar, all the support, logistics, training, etc costs are still real, and will continue to be incurred until such time as the aircraft is no longer in service.

Bronco46, excellent point. I wonder just how long it would take to multiply the cost of a .50 Cal machine gun delivering 750 rounds per minute to reach $30,000. That’s roughly $5,400 per hour at the prices of mixed ammo in my local gun store.

oh yes, taxpayers and veterans should never debate issues, and we should fork over every pennty that LM and service leadership demands, since their track record is so wonderful. get realistic, AFVET.

nice reference on the academic credentials of the VP. there is a dearth of engineering talent at the heads of many high tech organizations these days!

You don’t know what you’re talking about. First of all, just the total program cost alone per a/c is well over $350 M, and that doesn’t include what it will cost to operate those flying white elephants THIS year, much less the lifetime operational costs.

Furthermore, the production cost of an operational F-22 is not $143M, it’s $213M. At least… (http://​www​.counterpunch​.org/​2​0​0​9​/​0​3​/​2​7​/​w​h​a​t​-​d​o​e​s​-​a​n​-​f​-​2​2​-​c​o​st/)

Not to mention the fact that in 2008 it was revealed that it would cost en extra $8 billion to bring the first 100 a/c up to the original mandated requirements. And that its cost per flying hour is far in excess of its predecessor, the F-15.

How about rebuilding the A10 in stealth mode.

Just build more A10s. It’s a great airplane.

The F-22 can do the cobra and all the other Russians maneuvers , and even though the F-22 only had 2d thrust vectoring versus the 3d nozzles on the SU.s and mig-35 the flight control system and digital engine control on the F-22 lets it out perform the Russians,especially in post stall maneuvering.

Actually what happpened is after 4 months of TRYING to cause/find a fault with the OBOGS, they were unable to do so. So new procedures have been implamented & the fleet is returing to flight status.

What dead pilots?

I assume you have never used an OBOGS but I bet if you were tested, toxins would be found in your blood…It is a HUGE leap to go from finding toxins in pilots’ blood & concluding that the OBOGS put them there.

Also note that the F-22 is NOT the only aircraft to have “issues” with its OBOGS…

No it does not sound familiar & is in no way similar to structural issues with 20+ year of F-15s.

After 4 months of TRYING to find a problem with it & not finding any, what is there to fix?

More specifically, 12 separate reported incidents where pilots experienced HYPOXIA-LIKE SYMPTOMS over a three-year period beginning in April 2008.

I for one have yet to see (& I HAVE BEEN LOOKING) how many of those 12 incidents were concluded to actually be hypoxia &/or the fault of the OBOGS.

I paid for some of the F22, so it is part mine. Based on what I have found out, I would spend a few bucks into investigating what the “molecular sieve” little “balls or crystals” look like after flight hours. Also what the heat and mass balance in the “Oxygen System” during flight.

Dep Sec Def Ash Carter, is a Liar and is completely incompetent. He has NO idea what he is doing and is a mouth piece for Lockheed Martin. A Worthless SES with Political Motivation. He needs to be FIRED!!!!!!!!!! Everyone at the Pentagon that knows anything about both the JSF and F-22 Connectivity and Capability knows this as FACT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Fire CARTER NOW.… However, once the Super Committee does nothing, JSF will be scraped thank the Lord.

UTEP disagrees with us. They put this dude on their Engineering Advisory Board. You should look at the people they put on that board (http://​engineering​.utep​.edu/​a​b​o​u​t​u​s​b​o​a​r​d​.​htm). What a bunch of bi m bos!

Shhh! This gravy train is rolling. There’s nothing that’s going to be “fixed” until everyone involved is satisfied an adequate profit has been made.

As pfcem says all aircraft crash, pilots die all the time, who cares.

There are quite a few of us in the industry who have friends and family that fly military aircraft. We ALL care.

LOL! Since when has technical competance had anything to do with anything vaguely related to politics and high finance? Check out the academic qualifications of the charman of the FCC, then ponder to yourself how the GPS/LightSquared fiasco came to be.

He is being realistic. People who sign up to fly high performance fighters know that there are risks and accept those risks willingly. If this is some sort of design problem or maintenance problem, or procedural problem that is causing toxins to be in the pilots’ blood tests, then it needs to be fixed, but in the bigger scheme of things, its just one of many risks that have to be accepted. It only rises to a “scandal” if/when those in charge start paying more attention to rhetoric in the press and these blogs than they are to the health and wellbeing of those who do accept the risks. I think that you are perhaps only interested in the scandal aspect.… . .

wrong. i’m interested in breaking the cycle of late, overbudget programs and the strategic implications on the economy and national security. we can only do this if hypotheses get tested and debated. Eisenhower warned us about all of this.

it has everything to do with it. check out the book innumeracy. the world is becoming more uncertain and risky. the quantitatively illiterate senior leadership is rather poor at making quality decisions of economic, and thus strategic and political, importance.

But the technically incompetant continue to rise to the positions of authority in inherently technical organizations based on…. their good looks? .… … the absence of pocket protectors? or is it just a willingness to “accept” the profound technical mandates of their technically incompetant superiors? :-(

All of us that STILL profess/pretend to be engineers all know that answer.… .… …

“Gravity is an illusion; the world is flat; I can balance my checkbook by spending more; and modulation does not spread a frequency. . as long as the alternatives are politically inconvenient for the party in power!” (A little gallows humor.…!)

politics…loyalty…adherence to corporate values (actual vs professed)..doublethink and speak ability, self deception and the ability to deceive. in a nutshell, corruption.

Why would scrubbing CO2 out of the breathing air help? What are you going to filter? Anything? Everything? Something?

Or it won’t be declared fixed until everyone that wants fame or budget is satisfied. No one involved with the F-22 made money from the stand down, but many others gained something from it .

Oooo, the A-10X…been there. Nothing to see here folks. Move along. That’s good.

How would you know? Have you ever been in an F-22? What are the shortcuts they took in crew systems?

The F22 is an un-needed, costly boondoggle with lots of design vulnerabilities:

I worked on the design of components to the F22. That was in the 1990’s I knew then it was the most costly boondoggle ever concocted by the USAF (now the F35 has far surpassed the F22’s costly uselessness). I predicted then, long before the age of terrorism, that the F22 would never be used in combat, and that UAV’s were the future. Being former USAF tech., I saw UAV activity with target drone F102’s in 1980 and saw the then what the idiot generals refused to acknowledge — that the age of the manned fighter should end — the sooner the better. I’m a pilot too, so no envy there, just trying to deal with reality.

The 270 Vdc electrical distribution system is vulnerable to castastrophic explosion as a result of combat shrapnel damage — believe me too, I was a key design engineer on this system.

No worries though, punch drunk pilots are doing just fine cracking up $250M F22s without resorting to combat.

Dear EE

I’m the other kind of EE (elec. engr.). The book you refer to is an excellent reference. The economic spiral will continue downhill without increased comprehension of the language of mathematics. I long ago resigned from the authority of higher-ups that had no comprehension of the work I was doing or, of science in general. Thanks for your comments.

thank you sir :)

I might have a different word, but… it would not be any more “complementary”! LOL! Its the “Beltway ballet” and those who dance to the music.

The military long ago kissed the KISS (keep it simple, stupid) principle goodbye. Possibly there may be a revival with some DARPA projects as well as with UAV’s. There are no good fixes with the F22. The fleet should be replaced with low cost UAV’s ASAP.

Just as a matter of curiosity have you ever been in a fighter at 20k MSL or less (in the last 30 years or so) and seen a foe (aka “a really dumb target”) sitting up there at 60k against a clear dark sky with no clutter or anything to distract your radar or missile? If so, how long did it take you to wipe the grin off of your face and finish the victory celebration?

I dont disagree with your intended premise (at least what I think it must have been) that the F22 needs to be returned to “unlimited” operations, but… your premise in step 1 is a bit crooked.

Putting “stealth” on an A-10 would be like beautifying a wart hog (of the four legged variety). The result would be, at its best, a very compromised success, and you might end up much the worse for wear! LOL! Stealth is NOT just a coat of paint, its a complete aircraft planform design. At least for the conflicts of the FORSEEABLE future, certainly those against insurgencies and anything less than “great powers”, plain-jane A-10s might be really useful aircraft.

Making the A10 stealthy is like making a bayonet stealthy. Neither are employed at a range or in a way where radar detection is an issue.

Its one thing to criticize things that deserve the critique. Take pot shots at the inefficiencies, incompetancies, and irrational decisions. Hound political favoritism, corruption and graft to the ends of the earth, but.… . honest technical issues are almost inevitable in complex systems and the F-22 most certainly qualifies as a complex system. When there are a group of honest and forthright people trying very hard to fix an issue, pounding on their heads, even in forum like this, is something less than productive, even if sychronizing with ones political agenda….

Oh come on. Replace our premier, very new, air-superiority fighter with mythical do-everything UAVs?

Good Morning Folks,

I can see that Thinking ExUSAF doesn’t understand the problem, oh well I can’t do anything about that.

The issue is not technical competence, or money at $412,000.00 per copy (WSJ 9/21/11) nothing was denied the F-22 program. The issue is putting into the aircraft abilities that the airframe was never designed nor expected to handle.

Designs must be locked in at some point or you would just be in a circular environment where you were always going back to up grade the metallurgical technology of the structure of the air frame and over 25 plus years of development a lot has changed. The solution to this problem is a five year R&D program and ready for production for all weapons systems. If it can’t be done in five years cancel and start over.

The USAF has 158 F-22’s and will buy the 12 that are in the pipeline for a total of 170 F-22’s. The F-22 will like the F-15 A’s and B’s fly under operational restrictions, those limitations are being worked out now by the USAF and Lockheed/Martin.

This is a lousy fix and will require an already expensive maintenance program to become even more expensive with daily checks of the entire aircraft and checking the oxygen system before EVERY flight. This stringent maintenance program will no doubt severely restrict the operational value of the F-22 to the USAF.

There is now way that it can be said that the $ hundreds of billions sunk into this aircraft can be said as money well spent and the prime contractor should be held accountable, but Lockheed/Martin will slide out from under and accountability.

To say that the F-22 suffered from poor program management by both the government and the contractor would be an understatement.

As for the A-10 it is being re-manufactured and is expected to fly well into and perhaps beyond the 2040’s. But I not sure what that has to do with anything they are different aircraft with different missions.


Byron Skinner

$412 million a copy? That’s delusional. Also things were cut from the F-22 program. AIRST being one example. I’m pretty sure some requirements were lowered in the early ‘90s due to cost reasons as well. Also you’re looking at about 187 F-22As once all of them are delivered. Not enough as we should have gotten unfortunately.

I’m one of the people who designed the F-22. The problems, they are classified. You aren’t allowed to talk about an airplane’s vulnerabilities. That way you can be a bad American and allow the defense contractors to get away with doing a crappy job, or you can be a bad American by exposing the truth and the pilots of the airplanes to foreign exploitation of known weaknesses. Great range of choices, isn’t it?

I wonder what you think a “gravy train” is?

Well, Skinner proves…

You can’t stop the clueless from jaw flapping.

I wonder if they’ve limited the airplane to 12000 feet?

i disagree. first that i would pound on any honest and forthright preson’s head. second that this is less than productive activity. third, that technical issues are divorced from political ones.

Not many directions can be taken, as far as a LOX SYS is concerned. By the way old isn’t all that bad as you make it (breathig is old)…The LOX SYS I worked with did wonders and performed perfectly. Keep in mind, all mechanical systems, or man made systems, require maintenace, there is something “special” that must be the culprit with this ACFT and its Oxygen System? Scrap it and use a working one or redesign it all over again, why the shadow work? The Company must the bill on this one! Maybe that is the reason for all this shadow crap.…

If it was classified you should never have brought up any issues at all. You need to shut up. Guest is already phishing for answers.

The “released” info says lack of Oxygen not other contaminates. Sounds like te Liquid is not changing to Gas so the pilot can breathe sufficiently,when on demand? I think it may be prudent to start with all the helmets and personal gear then to the gasous (pieces/parts) area, and lastly to the LOX Tank and Lines. Not much can go wrong there? so it is elsewhere in my book.…Don’t overlook the solutions used to “clean” personal gear, and system parts, and pieces. I woud not overlook the ground support LOX carts, and the suppliers as well?

It’s always promising to put a 3 year gap in the testing phase when you have problems such as these. Well; better now than never to bring her back to the drawing board. At least we’re spending our money on something other than congressional paychecks.

Wasn’t that long ago the F 16s were killing pilots with its bad wiring and faulty instruments.
But it got sorted out after the AF owned up to problems with the F16.
Solution 1. How about you go back to the older O2 system that works, keep the pilots alive,planes flying and find the problem with the new age marvel toy.
Solution 2. Or rig these aircraft for flight like the predators.
Solution 3. Junk these 22’s and build the next neato aircraft.
Just saying !

Maybe they should reconsider the YF-23.

If it ain’t broke, fix it until it is!

The F21 was the better aircraft during the fly off, yet Lockheed gets the contract, makes one wonder!!!!!!!!!!!!

The 5 to 10 mhz modulation range isn’t as much an issue with expansion because at that frequency range everything is LOS.

Unless your worried about those internationally liscensed bands reaching around the horizon by some technology that has yet to be invented, or by some magical satellite that can pick up something with as little wattage as a cellphone (even then most antennas of this calibur are equipped to deal with scintillation on their own) will produce. There isn’t alot to worry about with narrowing channel spacing as long as you can build recievers to have better bandpass filtering. Abd as you stated. you realize that AM channel spacing “lowly radio telegraphy ” is MUCH narrower than the spacing of all those listed above.

Lets not forget that with Demand Assigned Access and the technologies that allow for the various types of QPSK, the 4G bandwidth is in great shape even being meant for a narrower modulation, because we simply don’t need as much of the message anymore, with a good set of error checking techniques. We NEED a larger range of frequencies to expand the amount of users meant to fit with-in an assigned frequency band, and the best way to do that is to make channel spacing narrower with better technologies. There you go… Nice to talk to you Ground Radio dude.…

one more thing… The percent of modulation can also be affected by the TYPE of modulation your using, because different modulation techniques will CARRY the information (with the CARRIER signal) in completely different parts of the signal.

And futher more, while overmodulation can creat harmonic interference. Better filtering those in most situations will eliminate those harmonics or greatly mask them.

your a dumbass there not 400 m try less the half that. but good job puting your two sence in

I think you mean te YF-23. I worked the program during the Fly-off. The 23 flew rings around the 22. Even lockheed thought Northrup was going to win the contract. Politics.

Wrong. The average total flyaway cost of the last 60 F-22s was ~$140 million (FY2010 dollars) and the average total Weapons Systems (which includes SIGNIFICTLY more than just the cost of the aircraft) was ~$180 million (FY2010 dollars). That counterpoint peice is complete BS meant to misrepresent the facts & confuse the uniformed.

Not what I said at all.

Quite the opposite, NO F-22 crash or pilot death has been attributed to the OBOGS.

Quite the opposite. A portion of the costs to fix problems is paid BY THE CONTRACTOR!

Actually, the 187 includes 6 Production Representative Test Vehicle (PRTV) II aircraft + 2 EMD aircraft, the total number of service aircraft procured was 179.


None of our war fighting efforts since May have required the F-22. IF they did, the F-22s would have flown.

F-21 is the designation given to 25 (12 USN + 13 USMC) Israeli Kfir leased by the US in the 1980s for use with aggressor squadrons.

These weren’t brought up to the standards of later blocks?

Yep, the termination of F-22 production seems as short-sighted as ever. Our brilliant leadership at work.

I used to think the F-21A Kfir lease provided some good cover for a black project (F-21B), but that doesn’t seem to be the case. It did seem odd that they assigned that designation to a handful of leased aircraft.

Adapt the O2 system from the SR-71 Blackbird for a retro-fit. Problem resolved.

You must not work anywhere near the aircraft to say something so stupid.

Ok, well, then how’s this? There’s nothing wrong with the F-22 cockpit. It is perfect just as it is. Oh yeah, and the F-22 was way better than the F-23. We are just lucky the USAF made the right choice. Feel safer now? I don’t.

Since I am not a pilot or an aircraft engineer this may sound silly but could some of the F22s be refitted as an UAV or at least tested for that technology?

The F-22s could quite readily be fitted out as a NOLO aircraft. Its done regularly with the F-16s that have lived out their useful life and the result becomes a target for an air-to-air missile live fire. Fitting it out so that all of the weapon systems and sensors are available might be a very different story. THEN there are the often ignored limitations of UAV operations, such as the 0.5 sec or more time lag caused by the satellite relay of the control and sensor signals, or such as the inherent loss of situation awareness when you take the two (or four!), Mk-1 eyeballs out of the cockpit.

Flying an aircraft is about all you need to do to get a sensor package into the proper position for ISR collection or popping off the occasional Hellfire, JDAM or LGB.

Fighting an aircraft, particularly an aircraft with the complex capabilities of an F-22 is much more difficult.

ROTFLMAO! To say that I dont understand the problem is correct, I can only offer my observations from “outside” the program and the USAF. For you to claim that you have the devine insight is perhaps also something short supportable!

At the same time I do agree with some of your stray points, like the need for the shorter acqusition cycle (and just about everyone with a vestige of intelligence agrees with that). “Re-manufactured” is a very vague word; the A-10s are being updated with better cockpit displays, the mission computer to support them, modern comm and such necessities as required for continuing to operate. My idea of remanufacturing means a bit more. And, Im a very strong, even strident supporter for ACCOUNTABILITY in the acquisition system,… so… what part of the problem do I really not understand? (apart from the fact that I obviously do not know where to put the decimal.…) :-)

At least they did not fall into the trap of “fixing” an unbroken system for the sake of public relations! Sometimes it takes some serious cojones to just say, “We dont know!”, but sometimes it is the only honest action.

You must be a “bubblehead” or else you have watched too many submarine movies! LOL! “Used” air on a fighter can just be vented overboard with reckless abandon, and as a matter of fact, it has to be vented so that the canopy doesnt pop off :-) , so no need for CO2 scrubbers. The filters are another question entirely. The “problem” is that the contaiminates noted are real nasty candidates for a filter. Much easier to just find out where they are coming from and put a stop at the source!

In a “classic” system, bottled O2 is mixed with what is essentially compressor bleed air and fed to the pilot. An OBOGS system separates and compresses O2 from ambient or bleed air, mixes it with more bleed air, and pipes it to the pilot. An OBOGS adds some pretty sophisticated equipment and processes but does away with the compressed O2 bottles, saving some weight (supposedly) but also making the logistics much simpler. No servicing of the O2 bottles, no need to keep high pressure O2 around the carrier or air base, etc, etc, etc.


Some older F-16s are being re-fitted as unmanned target drones, so yes it’s possible. But making it a real “Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle” (UCAV) would probably take some more doing, and would of course be a political impossibility.

I think a more likely future is an F-22 with its bugs worked out flying in a strike package or air cap patrol that also includes UCAVs.

Some of the F-22s capabilities are unneccessary in a protracted counter-insurgency, but military capabilities such as those possessed by the F-22 make insurgency the only real option for an enemy. It’s called full spectrum defense. One of the biggest mistakes we repeat is to always be fighting the last war in our acquisitions. If Iraq and Afghanistan are the only things that inform our military posture, then the next war will be a direct attack from a new or resurgent national power, and we will be caught with our pants down, with nothing to throw at the enemy but a bunch of “A-teams.”

Hey flying is dangerous and no one is forcing pilots to fly unsafe planes. These pilots volunteered and basically would do anything to be a F-22 fighter pilot. The military is a dangerous profession and there are no mandates that require pilots to fly. They can quit, or go fly another plane. There are plenty of pilots waiting in line to replace them.
Problems are inherent to this leading edge of technology and sophistication and this plane is what is keeping other countries from trying to develop something to compete with it. It’s very existence makes other countries think twice before trying to challenge our superiority. I say we ned to start using it now in our present “police actions” and see what happens.

Hypoxia is an all-encompassing term meaning your cells aren’t receiving the oxygen they need. It can be caused by things ranging from climbing mountains (altitude sickness from not enough oxygen in the atmosphere) to carbon monoxide poisoning (which prevents oxygen from entering the bloodstream). At this point, all speculation has been looked at and either dismissed or put into the “inconclusive” bin.

There are no ground support LOX carts, there is no LOX on the F-22

The F-22 system is unique, similar only to the newer F-35 (and still not quite the same). There is no LOX on the F-22, it’s all gaseous

The molecular sieve (a form of Zeolite) is pristine after flight. The OBOGS itself has been extensively tested, as one would hope, and zero problems have been found. The Air Force and contractors aren’t just blowing off critical things like this

I’m not sure what you’re getting at with “Also what the heat and mass balance in the “Oxygen System” during flight.”

LOL! Check into history a bit, my friend.… The cobra was first flown back in the late 80’s in MiG-29s and Su-27s by Pugachev and Volk when those aircraft had the rude and crude “5-strand, twisted steel” fly by wire system and straight nozzles! They turned off the AOA limiters and pulled the stick well past the “sharpshooter” detente, and shocked the world when they avoided becoming a greasy spot in the middle of the burn pattern on the asphalt!

Im a real fan of the F-22 and have a feeling that it can probably outfly the Russians on one or more corners of the envelope, but… knowing the very little that I do about the actual handling capabilities of the F-22, I dont even want to see it attempt a cobra at low altitude in an airshow! Sell the Raptor through advocacy if you feel the need, but lets keep it credible, and dont even attempt a cobra at 1000 ft with a whole bunch of people watching.… (Yours are at 35k or so with the spin chute, right?) :-)

To my Knowledge, there never was a Fly-off in the 80’s since the 22 and the 23 were not in T&E untill the earley 90’s. Must be talking about another A/C Fly-of with the F-21.

They were returned in 1989 and F-15’s replaced them.

Except the Rafale looks like a big ol’ airplane on the radar screen, with a “shoot me” sign hanging on it.

Regulate F-22 maximum altitude at 10,000 feet so that pilot will not need oxygen? Turn off the aircraft oxygen system to where it cannot explode. At least for the time-being until they find an engineer smart enough to fix the problem.

The companies don’t want to find anything wrong because they are scared of wrongful death lawsuits. I worked at Boeing on the V-22 program. There is a point where you have to fire the designers and let the mechanics build the aircraft. The requirement boys are always trying to make a do all and everything aircraft and the engineers don’t mind because they keep designing but the people on the line and the users are left out of every loop.

Lets all critize every bloody thing that the D-O-D, DM,the engineers the thoughts of progress. We have all been in the boat without paddles, and we have all been without enough food, But be a pilot without breathable air you will be the enemies bullets. The wait in time is better then the life of a Brother because the democrats want to show ? intelligents?. Speak up all the great,good ‚supportive, or shut up!

I’d support the USAF buying 200 of the F-23s over the next 10 years.

I’m sorry, but simply put… you’re an Idiot!

Sounds like a standard medical oxygen concentrator. Regular ground use medical concentrators have filters that can’t be upset; and the machine must stay upright. Surely this is not any where near what the problem is for the OBOGS on the F-22.

I would also think that the quality of air compressed from ambient, shouldn’t be a factor in the failures. The post that questioned pilot black out from wild maneuvers, sounds pretty plausible to me. But I am assuming this bird has the newest vectored thrust capabilities.

Ahem… I think it was F-5s and F-16s that were the replacement USN aircraft. The Kfirs (F-21s) were used as USN “agressor aircraft” for training purposes.

I can’t help but be amused by the pathetic idiots who actually click “-1″ on your posts when you are literally the ONLY person trying to inject the cold hard facts directly related to the specific topic of whether there truly was any problem to begin with!

I’m glad there is at least one other person here (Hypoxia Guy) to join pfcem in trying to bring to light the pertinent details of the specific problem–if any–in the OBOGS.

Good luck with that. The SR-71 is a two seater, meaning two oxygen breathing humans to feed. It was designed for a flight profile of 2+ hours at a constant 80,000+ ft altitude at mach 3. It’s a mask on aircraft from takeoff to landing, meaning crew don’t get their oxygen from cockpit air. At that altitude and airspeed, airstream air is too low in oxygen content and its temperature too high to use engine compressor bleed air to generate oxygen. Therefore, the oxygen system consists of three 10 liter liquid oxygen bottles, two primary and a standby, and associated electrics to heat the liquid to a breathable gas state. I’ve been unable to locate dimension and mass data on this system, but you can bet your ass it’s too big to be shoe horned into the tiny spaces in the fore end F-22 airframe.

I’m no aeronautical engineer, but it seems to me the cheapest, quickest, and most foolproof solution to this problem is building two conformal SCUBA type tanks and valve/switch assemblies under, around, and/or into the seat frame, and filling them before each flight. If the pilot must eject at high altitude the oxygen goes with him, and there’s no chance of the current airframe-to-seat oxygen switch circuit failing. We’ve put backup air in the seats for decades to cover high altitude ejection. Just put it all in the seat and be done with it.

The answer for the F-22 Oxygen problem is not with the oxygen generators it with the tubing manufacture. Manufacturing tubing for a oxygen system has to be in a clean environmental place and with every step. This is not the first aircraft wit this problem. Look to the F-14s about 1980 and you will see the millions to re manufacture the oxygen system. contaminated Double flares and wrong type sleeves were the problem.

Vectored thrust has VERY little to do with aircrew blackout. Its a way to get significant maneuverabilty when the airframe itself cannot generate enough lift, i.e. at very high AOA or low airspeed. Im sure that the F-22 will be said to be able to pull more g’s than anything flying, but thats sort of like saying squash the fly with a 10-lb sledge vs an 8-lb sledge, the fly wont care, and any A/C capable of 6 or 7 or more g’s is capable of blacking out the pilot, particularly if something happens to the g-suit and catches the pilot unawares. Ask anybody who flew back seat on F-4s, at night over Hanoi… :-) That sudden “expletive deleted” from the front seat, followed by a rapid g onset and the helmet banging against the canopy, and the lights getting very dim.… . .Anyway, GLOC is not new.…and is probably not, IMHO, related to the F-22 incidents. In single seat fighters, you more often than not dont come home complaining after a GLOC.…and while it might leave residue in your flight suit, it does not leave any signature in your blood.

Just a thought, but the heavier you make the seat, the slower it is to get away from the aircraft when its put into use. Jack up the rocket or the catapult to make up for the weight of the seat and you have the increased weight problem being compounded. Also, scuba tanks are long and round for a reason; you would have a heck of a time making a “square” scuba tank hold the pressure and maintain shape while still remaining a thin skinned (and therefore light weight) pressure vessel. Much more difficult would be a “twisty-turny” tank that could fit in the spaces under or around an ejection seat…. . Just sayin…

And you are dead on with respect to the SR-71 O2 system, except for perhaps one thing. The air “up there” has about the same amount of O2 (by percentage) as the air on the surface, but there just plain is not much air at all up there to work with. Also, when the Blackbird was up there, the engines are on the “ramjet” cycle so bleed air is a bit harder to come by than when the turbines are producing real thrust.

The 12 F-21 aircraft leased to the US Navy, painted in a three-tone blue-gray “ghost” scheme, were operated by VF-43, based at NAS Oceana. In 1988 they were returned and replaced by the F-16N. The 13 aircraft leased to the United States Marine Corps were operated by VMFT-401 at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma. In addition to the blue-gray painted aircraft, the USMC also had some F-21s painted in Israeli colors and desert “flogger” schemes. These aircraft were replaced by F-5Es when the F-21s were returned in 1989.

Kfirs are also used by ATAC, a civilian company that provides fleet tactical aircraft and services to the US military. ATAC provides airborne tactical training, threat simulation, and research & development. They are based in Newport News, VA and also operate the Saab 35 Draken.

The 12 F-21 aircraft leased to the US Navy, painted in a three-tone blue-gray “ghost” scheme, were operated by VF-43, based at NAS Oceana. In 1988 they were returned and replaced by the F-16N. The 13 aircraft leased to the United States Marine Corps were operated by VMFT-401 at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma. In addition to the blue-gray painted aircraft, the USMC also had some F-21s painted in Israeli colors and desert “flogger” schemes. These aircraft were replaced by F-5Es when the F-21s were returned in 1989.

I was wrong about the F-15, miss read the article. If you want to read the whole article, search F-21.

Got it Think! Thanks for the rep!

I believe DoD suffers from ‘gizmo envy’. Take a look @ those combatants with which we are currently ‘@ war’. Tough, gritty, great endurance, medium to low tech PEASANTS. Sort of like the Continental Army vs. Great Britain. The U.S. was born from a minuscule army, some great political maneuvering & circumstance plus staunch allies. We ‘defeated’ a World Power with a few decisive battles & Luck! Does the US really need a standing fleet of Hi Tech + HIGH DOLLAR expendable airborne weapons platforms? Wouldn’t be more prudent to have a few F22’s & work diligently to keep them battle worthy through practical refinement? We should adopt the Israeli’s method of procurement, they seem to get exactly what is needed without excess technology. Let the pilot serve as the primary computer & leave the gizmos to science fiction movies.

The existence of such gizmos is the reason why our enemies have resorted to such tactics. Things like the Raptor make it financially inviable to all but major world powers like China or Russia to even try to match us.

I’m also sick and tired of people assuming that we’re only going to face COIN wars for the next century. Also, the Taliban do not have any particular skill at fighting, in fact, they have been consistently defeated when in combat with our forces. They suffer tens of thousands of casualties compared to our two or three thousand. The only advantage they have is their ability to wait for us to lose the political will to stay. Period.
They are not “tough” by any measure of the word. Unless “tough” means great at pouring acid of girls going to school or stoning people who hold hands in public or murdering unarmed aid workers counts.

A fact no doubt on the mind of the Air Force is that qualifications will be expiring soon for the pilots flying these aircraft. The Air Force most assuredly does not want to have to re-qualify its F-22 pilots. Could it be that admin concerns are trumping safety?

You can care less about the oxygen issue as long as the ejection seat is working. Maybe that’s the logic behind the decision.


If you aren’t allow to talk about them, then why are you talking about it Dfens?

I need something worthwhile to talk about, cause this sure ain’t it. We are still thinking small.

Hmmm. .. . Well, lets see… Could it possibly be that if he tosses out the classification trump card he doesnt have to justify any of his claims to expertise and “insider knowledge”?

Or was that what you were thinking in the first place, Top? LoL!

If there is some classifed knowledge in play, he should shut up. If there is no classified knowledge in play, and the comments are just pure prop wash tossed out to try to impress folk with his experience, then.…. Hey, wait! I see a robust, all scenario, solution forming.… :-)

I’m not interested in what the purported “average total flyaway cost” is because it’s merely BS meant to misrepresent the facts and confuse the uniformed (And the ‘uninformed’, too…).

What I’m interested in, is the cost of a fighter that’s ready to be filled up with gas, loaded up with weapons, and sent off to fight the enemy. IOW, an operational fighter that can actually do what fighters are meant to do — FIGHT.

As for your crushing refutation of the “counterpoint peice” — how about you actually point out which of the govt. supplied numbers are wrong, and provide some evidence (and the links to said evidence) to support your position?

You know — So we can tell that you’re not just blowing recycled Lockmart kool-aid out yer ***. as usual…

A pilotless plane requires no O2…pucker up fighter jockeys, your future cockpit is a safe, climate controlled, ground-level office!

Actually the final solution stated above is the same as always. Defective pilots, not defective aircraft. Like issues with high G turns the USAF is simply going to “create a process to early select pilots compatible with the aircraft”.

Just like pilots who can’t take high G — those pilots who get hypoxia-like symptoms during prolonged deep dive will be transferred to military transport duty.

If you don’t meet the standards of elite hand-picked physique and mind, you don’t fight front line fighters.

As I side note prolonged adrenaline exposure in bloodstream will cause mild oxygen depletion symptoms…basically the long roller coaster dive might just be getting to certain pilots (too afraid even if managing too keep things under control externally).

Yes run away requirements can be an issue. But replacing aircraft every 5 years would not be smart either. Keep in mind WWII aircraft often had severe safety issues. One early P-38 issue was that the oil cooling was so good the oil would freeze at full military power when operated as designed. Several models passed factory doors before that was corrected in hardware. There is debate about what killed more WWII fighter pilots, design defects (especially versus inexperienced pilots unaware of all the quirks) or actual enemy fire.

Even for planes using mostly “off the shelf” technology 10 years is about as short as you can expect for aircraft specifically built for warfighting. as opposed to simply arming civilian aircraft like some 3rd world countries do. ”

I seem to remember the FAA requires a 7 year development process just for commercial aircraft to pass airworthiness licensing. So five years would mean “adapt off the shelf civilian airplanes to carry military weapons and systems”.

Did you know that most civilian high tech items undergo and average 7–9 life cycle from authorization to production? Intel CPUs are a common example. And radical changes in CPU core designs often extend to out to 8–12 years.

Basically custom military aircraft are built and qualified as simple airframes first. During that time they carry mock payload weights instead of real weapons and military electronics for the most part. They do eventually carry military payloads better because of forward looking plans to fit weapons and electronics in desirable spots.

“Simply arming” civilian aircraft as some third world countries do still usually takes 3–6 years to do in a way that operates reliably and reasonably accurately. The time depends of course on how heavily armed and what level of existing electronics you are going to jam into available spaces. Why? Among other things aircraft have to be weight balanced through out the mission. And guess what?

Custom built military aircraft undergo a similar time at the end of development to add actual weapons and mission electronics. Why? Paper design and time meets Murphy’s Laws. Because generally speaking specific electronics have changed and none have never been “tuned” to compensate for the airframe’s own electrical characteristics and “interference”. Similarly only mock generic weapon loads have been applied and real factors like real expended cartridges need to be considered (not good if cartridges eject into engines or are so hot they cause fires when stored internally).

#1 unlikely that its a single plug in box. Oxygen systems are such essential systems that they tend to be included as an integrated part of the airframe itself and are spread through to reduce the number of large awkward box spaces disrupting streamlining etc. FYI modern jets don’t just carry big oxygen tanks, they extract oxygen from air at altitude, chemically protect and may scrub CO2 for recycling etc. All because of sustained operations in a potential chemical/biological warfare environment and possible logistics problems with new oxygen tanks.

#2 ROFLMAO nope — not instrumented for this and not wired to support computers to do so. So it would take billions and 4–7 years to develop UAV flight systems to fly the F-22. And even then it would be more suited for kamakazie and surveillance than fighting aircraft or doing heavy precision CAS. CAS is very porcupine process from high speed jet due to nearby friendlies.

#3 Right just print more money. or maybe the US needs to put total plundering back into its foreign military excursions.

Again the USAF reply actually indicates they feel its more an issue of pilots who cannot keep up with the aircraft — just like they had to start sorting pilots for G-force ability way back in WWII and got really serious about it in the 1960s with F-102/F-104 series.

Basically the vertical dives from 50K feet to 5K feet are keeping them so scared so long that some are experiencing adrenaline exhaustion which has hypoxia-like side effects.

Outfitting F-22 to simply be a takeoff and slow turn target in a very local area would not cost too much — typically couple million per aircraft gets FAA happy. Landing afterward at dedicated airport…maybe 10–20 million.

To reach predator level, able to fly surveillance at huge distance and stay in air without being a hazard to all during short communications losses — much more expensive, hundreds of millions and probably 3+ years. Its the AI pilot functions and that AI pilot being very aware of all aircraft systems and emergency procedures. Plus F-22 has severe lack of sensors designed to feed that in-flight AI pilot program — blind in many directions. Existing complex radars etc could be very expensive to program interpretations and reactions for AI. Plus they usually strip those systems from drone aircraft for reuse in other fighters.

To reach fighter level UAV operations…ain’t happening in next 10 years. First UAV fighters will be custom designed to simply AI pilot programming…direct flight controls, etc. F-22 is much more complex due to human design and multi-mission roles.

So what would be the point of flying under those restrictions?…other than to be the best target possible for a Stealth plane. No sure that you can do normal bomb delivery from that altitude without danger of fragments from the blast.

Yes and no. Its funny how he who writes qualification regulations can change them if needed for special circumstances.

On the other hand the number of operational hours programmed in the yearly budget remains unchanged while the time to use that budget grows shorter.

Plus keep in mind that the issue only involves one specific type of maneuver. Plenty of warbirds have had specific maneuvers safety restricted until solved or even restricted for aircraft life.

Again look at USAF statement closely. Its says that the basic issue is actually determined to be pilot physiology related, like lack of tolerance to G-force. The USAF plans to sort F-22 pilots more carefully in the future. But for now they are restricting those pilots who are qualified in F-22 but not sorted. F-22 pilot to F15SE or even Airlift.

Eventually true but not soon in complex air-to-air combat role and probably not for CAS unless actual supported ground troop controls it.

pilotless combat vehicles will not be created from aircraft designed to be manned.

Plus I think UAV designs will tend to have very narrow mission range for a long time. Easier to desgin software and its cheaper for expendable hardware.

Ahem… are you sure that you are not perhaps putting two and two together and getting 4.5 in a couple of places? I believe that the current USAF “slang” has “Deep Dive” to mean an in-depth investigation, not a push-over from 50k to tree tops. Also, I suspect the “baseline physiological exams” are more to establish a nominal level of various blood contaminants, G-tolerance, and such BEFORE they go flying Raptors. Anyone who has not experienced that “adrenalin rush” you spoke of, has just not spent enough time in high performance aircraft (or perhaps even in low performance aircraft! LOL!)

We do agree about the wisdom and shortcomings of NOLO’ing an F-22 or other aircraft for a UCAV.… ., except that a 7+-g QF-16 at .85 racking into a max-roll-rate, pre-intercept reversal is not exactly a slow turning target. ;-) Those “UAV” pilots from Mojave are GOOD!

Funny, I worked on the OBOGS/MSOGS program at Brooks AFB in the 1990’s. It was broke then I guess it’s broke now. Stop trying to build a better mouse trap and go back to liquid oxygen.


Total flyaway cost IS the cost of a fighter that’s ready to be filled up with gas, loaded up with weapons, and sent off to fight the enemy! That is WHY it is called total flyaway cost. Yes there are ADDITIONAL costs involved with operating/maintaining the aircraft but those vary with HOW you operate/maintain the aircraft. Total flyaway cost as been the ‘unit of measure’ for comparision for a half century or more. It is only relatively recently with ignorant &/or disingenuous naysayers ignorantly &/or deliberately misrepresenting the costs of the F-22 to make it appear more expensive compared to previous fighters than it actually is.

I already pointed out which numbers is the counterpoint peice are wrong & provided the correct numbers. And my numbers don’t come from LM, they come from USAF budget documents.

Those 8 aircraft are only used for testing & training purposes.

NOTE: Comments are limited to 2500 characters and spaces.

By commenting on this topic you agree to the terms and conditions of our User Agreement

AdChoices | , and join us on Google+
© 2015 Military Advantage
A Monster Company.