posted on Jan, 8 2013 @ 11:00 PM
The Air Force has announced that modifications to the life support system on the F-22 Raptor will start shipping to units in the field this month.
Upper Pressure Garment (UPG) valves are being shipped, and the vests will be modified locally. Once the mods are made the restriction on flying
without the vests below 44,000 feet will be lifted.
Once the A-BOS (automatic back up to OBOGS) is added to the aircraft, the Raptors in Alaska will return to the air sovereignty mission over Alaska.
Currently F-15s and F-16s are fielding that mission for the F-22s, until the unit is installed.
A former flight test engineer and aerospace physiologist says that the Air Force has yet to find the root cause of the problem with the life support
system. He says that turning the OBOGS from "max" won't do anything, because the problem was occurring before the requirement to fly at a "max"
The US Air Force expects to start fielding life support systems modifications for its fleet of Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor air superiority
fighters this January.
"UPG [upper pressure garment] valves are being shipped now, and the vests will be modified locally," says the USAF's Air Combat Command (ACC). "We
expect units will start flying with the modified vests later this month, which alleviates the current restriction that has them flying without the
vests at altitudes below 44,000 feet unless otherwise directed."
The Raptor, which is regarded as the USAF's premier air-to-air fighter, had been operating under a number of operational limitations because of a
suspected problem with the aircraft's onboard oxygen generation system (OBOGS). The problem was severe enough that the USAF was forced to ground the
Raptor for four months in 2011 after more than a dozen "physiological incidents" with symptoms resembling hypoxia. After the USAF concluded that the
pilot's Combat Edge upper pressure garment was the source of the problem, the service has slowly been lifting restrictions on the Raptor's
operations. Other than the altitude limitation, the only other remaining restriction on F-22 is that the aircraft is currently precluded from
executing the Alaska air sovereignty mission.