by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) June 20, 2017
Dozens of F-35 stealth fighters that were grounded for 11 days due to an oxygen-supply problem aboard the expensive warplanes will resume flying on Wednesday, the US Air Force said.
Investigators were unable to identify a root cause of the issue, which had prompted the 56th Fighter Wing of Luke Air Force Base, Arizona to ground its F-35s.
"However, specific concerns were eliminated as possible causes including maintenance and aircrew flight equipment procedures," base spokeswoman Major Rebecca Heyse said in a statement.
The Lockheed Martin planes were grounded on June 9 due to five incidents since May 2 in which pilots experienced symptoms of hypoxia, of lack of oxygen.
Currently, the 56th Fighter Wing has 55 F-35A planes that are used to train pilots from the US and other air forces that are buying the jet.
Heyse said experts are continuing to probe the issue and several precautionary steps are being taken, including increasing the minimum levels for backup oxygen systems for each flight.
With a current development and acquisition price tag already at $379 billion for a total of 2,443 F-35 aircraft -- most destined for the US Air Force -- the F-35 is the most expensive plane in history, and costs are set to rise further still.
Once servicing and maintenance costs for the F-35 are factored in over the aircraft's lifespan through 2070, overall program costs are expected to rise to $1.5 trillion.
Proponents tout the F-35's radar-dodging stealth technology, supersonic speeds, close air support capabilities, airborne agility and a massive array of sensors giving pilots unparalleled access to information.
But the program has faced numerous delays, cost overruns and setbacks, including a mysterious engine fire in 2014 that led commanders to temporarily ground the planes.
Other problems include software bugs, technical glitches and even a faulty eject system that risked killing pilots who weighed less than 136 pounds (62 kilograms).
Washington (UPI) Jun 15, 2017
Rockwell Collins Simulation and Training Solutions has received a $34 million contract for the procurement of one E-2D Advanced Hawkeye Tactics Trainer. The trainer will support E-2D Hawkeye Integrated Training Systems III program. The contract provides for aircraft-to-simulator concurrency updates, engineering changes and retrofitting for other Hawkeye training systems,and testing of t ... read more
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