Got a tip today that all F-22s have been parked. Air Combat Command confirmed a few minutes ago, and our news article is posted here and is excerpted below.
The US Air Force has stopped flying all Lockheed Martin F-22s for an indefinite period over concerns about a possible glitch in the onboard oxygen generation system.
The stand-down order issued on 3 May by Air Combat Command (ACC) chief Gen Will Fraser comes about six weeks after the F-22s were restricted to flying below 25,000ft due to the same problem. [Read more...]
Dave Majumder at Defense News broke the story about the F-22 OBOGS concerns back in March. Read his article here.
Stay tuned. Air Combat Command should be releasing more information shortly.
UPDATE: ACC has just sent me written answers to my questions about the stand-down order. Read them on the jump.
Air Combat Command replies:
What prompted the stand-down?
The stand-down was prompted by recent reports of potential oxygen system malfunctions.
Is this related to the OBOGS investigation? If so, why did you tighten the flight restrictions from a 25,000 foot limit to a stand-down?
Yes, it is. Initiating a temporary stand-down in response to recent incidents minimizes further risk to aircrew until we can resolve the issue.
What is the nature of these recent incidents?
Increased frequency of pilot reported physiological incidents such as hypoxia and decompression sickness.
How does this impact F-22 training and operational readiness and training? Are Air Sovereignty Alert (ASA) missions still being flown?
The temporary stand-down will have a negligible effect on real-world missions such as ASA, as the F-22 remains available for National Security directed missions. Additionally, MAJCOM commanders may allow one-time flights if warranted and prudent. One example might be simple repositioning flights to move F-22s to home stations. Crews will maintain proficiency through simulator and ground training events.