April 4th, 2013
07:24 PM ET

Where North Korea most threatens U.S. troops

U.S. troops stationed in South Korea, less than 20 miles from the border with North Korea, bases in Japan and Guam are all targets for North Korea's missiles. Chris Lawrence reports on how and where North Korea would strike U.S. troops.

F-22 crashes in Florida
DoD photo of an F-22 cockpit during midair refueling
November 15th, 2012
06:35 PM ET

F-22 crashes in Florida

By Larry Shaughnessy

(CNN)  - An F-22 fighter jet crashed Thursday afternoon near Tyndall Air Force Base in the Florida panhandle. The pilot ejected safely, according to Lt. Col. John Dorrian, a spokesman for the U.S. Air Force.

Tyndall AFB is a training base for F-22 pilots. There's no confirmation that the plane took off from Tyndall before the crash, but that would be logical, Dorrian said.

The F-22 has been the focus of years of investigations about a problem that causes some of the stealth fighter's pilots to become dizzy or black out. The exact cause of the problem still hasn't been identified.

Last year, the Government Accountability Office put the cost per F-22 (including research and development) at $412 million.

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Filed under: Air Force • F-22 • Military
New pictures show second Chinese stealth fighter being test flown
A jet fighter with stealth characteristics was test flown this week in China. (Photo from cjdby.net)
November 2nd, 2012
08:28 PM ET

New pictures show second Chinese stealth fighter being test flown

WASHINGTON (CNN) - CNN has obtained detailed photographs of a new stealth fighter being tested in China.

It is the second such stealth fighter China has tested in as many years and appears destined to become the communist nation's future aircraft carrier-based fighter jet, according to weapons analysts.

The plane, dubbed by outsiders as the J-31, was test flown Tuesday in Shenyang. According to the analysts, the two photographs obtained by CNN appear to have been leaked by officials in China.

J-31 Chinese fighter jet. (Photo cjdby.net)

"It has to be an official photographer because nobody else can get that close to the airplane," said John Pike, director of GlobalSecurity.org. "These are all publicity photos from the factory, and I could not imagine that the factory would publicize these things without somebody higher up in the food chain authorizing it."

Richard Fisher, a senior fellow in Asian military affairs at the International Assessment and Strategy Center (IASC), agrees these are not pictures sent out surreptitiously by some Chinese aviation aficionado. "The Internet censors are controlling this process, have no doubt that."

But Fisher said the reason for the release may not be as threatening as some might imagine.

"It's being done in a way to help promote pro-military nationalism in China. There's just a huge, large audience in China for this kind of information. It's kind of like NASCAR."

FULL POST

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Filed under: Air Force • Asia • China • F-22 • F-35 • J-20 • J-31 • Military
After four years Air Force “confident” it has found F-22 problem source
July 31st, 2012
07:19 PM ET

After four years Air Force “confident” it has found F-22 problem source

By Larry Shaughnessy

An imperfect valve, a filter meant to protect pilots from chemical and biological threats, and decades-old vest technology combined to cause problems that grounded the state-of-the-art F-22 fighter jet, according to Air Force Maj. Gen. Charles Lyon, director of operations for Air Combat Command.

"We determined with confidence the source of the unexplained physiological incident resides in the F-22 cockpit," Lyon said.

The Air Force has been investigating why a number of F-22 pilots have experienced a mysterious loss of oxygen while in the air, causing dizziness and confusion known as hypoxia, since spring 2011. Oxygen problems that have caused hypoxia-like symptoms in pilots and ground crew members have occurred for the past four years.

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Filed under: Air Force • F-22
Panetta lifts flight restrictions on troubled F-22
DoD Photo of F-22 during midair refueling
July 24th, 2012
04:23 PM ET

Panetta lifts flight restrictions on troubled F-22

By Mike Mount

Flight restrictions for the plagued F-22 will start to be lifted after the Air Force said it had a plan to mitigate the oxygen issues that sparked questions about the jet fighter's safety.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta approved the plan to begin lifting the restrictions after the Air Force reported it has identified the issues causing reduced oxygen problems that pilots were experiencing in the cockpit, Pentagon spokesman George Little said Tuesday.

Little said a valve in a pressure vest worn by the pilots to combat the effects of G-forces will have to be replaced, while pilots will receive an increased volume of air flowing to their masks by removing a filter that was installed to determine whether there were any contaminants present in the oxygen system. FULL POST

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Filed under: Air Force • F-22 • Military
More problems for F-22 beyond mysterious oxygen loss issue
July 16th, 2012
12:00 AM ET

More problems for F-22 beyond mysterious oxygen loss issue

By Mike Mount

Two recent in-flight emergencies involving troubled oxygen systems in the F-22 "Raptor" are unrelated to other, more worrisome breathing problems pilots have experienced for more than a year when flying the plane, according to U.S. Air Force officials.

The Air Force has been investigating why a number of F-22 pilots have experienced a mysterious loss of oxygen while in the air, causing dizziness and confusion known as hypoxia, since spring 2011.

But two recent incidents related to the F-22 oxygen system are considered regular mechanical issues not connected to the oxygen deprivation investigation, according to Air Force Lt. Col. Tadd Sholtis, a spokesman for the Air Force's Air Combat Command.

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Filed under: Air Force • Congress • F-22 • Military
F-22: beauty meets trouble in midair
DoD Photo of F-22 during midair refueling.
July 1st, 2012
12:01 AM ET

F-22: beauty meets trouble in midair

The F-22 Raptor is one of the DoD's most controversial weapons programs. The modern, stealthy fighter has been criticized for years for costing too much and more recently for so far unsolved problem of pilots suffering from hypoxia-like symptoms on the plane. The problem causes pilots to become dizzy or worse and some blame the problem for one fatal crash.

But for all its problems, the photo above shows it is also a beautiful aircraft. Air Force Master Sgt. Jeremy Lock snapped this photo of an F-22 as it received fuel from a KC-135 Stratotanker over the Atlantic Ocean, July 10, 2012.


Filed under: Air Force • F-22
June 15th, 2012
01:46 PM ET

Oxygen problems far more likely in F-22 than other fighter jets

By Adam Levine

Pilots flying the F-22 Raptor reported illness from oxygen deprivation incidents 10 times as often as pilots of other fighter jets, according to Air Force data.

The F-22 has been the focus of an Air Force inquiry because of the oxygen problems.

The new data, released by Sen. Mark Warner, D-Virginia, and Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Illinois, shows Raptor pilots have reported 26.43 hypoxia and hypoxia-like incidents per 100,000 flight hours. While that represents a mere fraction of total flight hours, it is far higher than incidents from other Air Force aircraft, including the A-10, the F-15E and the F-16.

Kinzinger, a military pilot himself, said that while low, the numbers are extremely concerning. Kinzinger and Warner have been vocal in pressing the Air Force to investigate the concerns after two pilots came forward about the problem on CBS's "60 Minutes." FULL POST


Filed under: Air Force • Congress • F-22 • Military • Warner
Sources: Flight suit could be cause of oxygen loss in F-22 flights
June 13th, 2012
07:45 PM ET

Sources: Flight suit could be cause of oxygen loss in F-22 flights

By Mike Mount

Air Force investigators believe a specialized flight suit could be partially responsible for some pilots experiencing a lack of oxygen while flying the F-22 fighter jet, according to a report by Air Force investigators.

Investigators are focusing on part of the suit, called the "Combat Edge," which hampers breathing and causes oxygen loss when combined with a physiological condition that collapses air sacs in the lungs, according to details of the report that were shared with Security Clearance.

The findings are expected to be part of the first monthly update by Air Force investigators to Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta to be delivered later this week or early next week, according to sources familiar with the investigation. FULL POST

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Filed under: Air Force • F-22 • Military
May 15th, 2012
02:54 PM ET

Military limits F-22 flights after oxygen issues

The military is taking new measures as it tries to determine the root cause of possible oxygen-supply problems in the F-22 fighter jet.

Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta has mandated that all F-22 flights "remain within the proximity of potential landing locations" to ensure the ability to recover and land should a pilot run into "unanticipated physiological conditions," Pentagon spokesman George Little said on Tuesday.

In addition, the Air Force is speeding up the installation of an automatic backup oxygen system in all the fighters, Little also announced a Pentagon press conference.

Panetta also has requested a monthly progress report about the service's progress in finding the cause of the oxygen problems on the fighter jets.

The Air Force has been looking into a number of reports that pilots experienced "hypoxia-like symptoms" aboard F-22s since April 2008. FULL POST

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Filed under: Air Force • Defense Spending • F-22 • Military