Lawmakers will receive a briefing Monday on the report by the Air Force Scientific Advisory Board task force that investigated the F-22’s on-board oxygen-generating system, said USAF officials on Thursday. While the exhaustive investigation never did find a “smoking gun” technical problem with the OBOGS, the Air Force will implement a series of fixes to mitigate the chance of any future problems with it, they told the Daily Report. Chief among these will be a backup oxygen system, which was deleted many years ago during a weight-cutting drill during F-22 development. The old system would have weighed 20 pounds; the new one will weigh 10 pounds, they said. Software fixes are also in store, as well as new oxygen sensors, they said. The oxygen issue—some Raptor pilots experiencing symptoms as if they weren’t receiving enough oxygen in flight—kept the F-22 fleet grounded for months last year. F-22s returned to flight last fall, with the proviso of frequent checks of pilots and aircraft alike for oxygen problems.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.