Photo: Lockheed Martin
After years of searching for an elusive design problem in the F-22 Raptor that causes pilots to become dizzy and has resulted in at least one death, the Air Force now believes the cause may be a faulty pressure vest.David Lerman and Tony Capaccio at Bloomberg report on an emailed Air Force statement that says the vest, which is part of a suit that keeps pilots from passing out during high-speed maneuvers “increases the difficulty of pilot breathing under certain circumstances.”
That sounds like an encouraging word on a problem that’s kept $67 billion worth of fifth-generation planes out of combat since their introduction to the field in 2005, but maybe not.
Brigadier General Daniel Wyman, the Air Combat Command’s surgeon general said in an interview this week that despite this most recent news “The bottom line is we don’t have a single causative factor.”
So, aside from tearing apart the oxygen system and spending another $19 million on 50 automatic backup oxygen supply kits; pointing fingers at potentially faulty hoses, masks, adhesives and stealth coatings, the military still has simply no clue what’s wrong with the F-22.
The 188 Raptors currently in service have caused about 24 complaints of “hypoxia like symptoms” among pilots and ground workers, that include dizziness, disorientation, and in at least one fatal incident, unconsciousness.
After being grounded for four months last year, the F-22 may now only be flown within limited distances of its base and has been called “the most expensive, corroding hangar queen ever” by Arizona Senator John McCain.
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.