The F-22 fleet remains grounded six weeks after Air Combat Command initiated a safety stand-down following reports of potential malfunctions with the aircraft’s onboard oxygen-generation system. ACC spokeswoman Capt. Jennifer Ferrau told the Daily Report Thursday that the ongoing investigation has expanded beyond the OBOGS system, which provides a pilot with breathable air in flight so he will not blackout. Investigators also are looking at other F-22 systems and comparing them to those on other platforms, such as the A-10, F-15E, F-16, F-35, and T-6. “The other aircraft that are being looked at have not had the same issues that led to the F-22 stand-down and subsequent investigation. However, the OBOGS is a relatively new technological application; as such, we want to open the aperture and determine if anything that we see in the F-22 has safety implications that could affect the other fleets,” stated Ferrau.
The Air Force overall reduced its size by 120 aircraft in fiscal year 2021, but kept about the same number of fighter, bomber and attack aircraft, according to data supplied by the service. The F-35 fleet saw the biggest increase while the B-1B bomber fleet saw the largest decline.