Pentagon OKs Plan to Lift F-22 Flight Restrictions

F-22 Raptor

The Air Force has found that an air "supply" problem has been causing the hypoxia-like symptoms for some pilots flying F-22s, the Pentagon announced Tuesday, adding that the service identified two changes in the aircraft’s cockpit life-support system to correct it.

The Air Force will replace a valve in the upper pressure garment vest worn by pilots during high-altitude missions, Pentagon spokesman George Little said. The valve was causing the vest to inflate, causing breathing problems for some pilots.

The second change involved increasing the volume of air flowing to pilots by removing a filter that was installed to detect contaminants in the oxygen system. The Air Force is also exploring to improve the oxygen-delivery hose and its physical connections, he said.

Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta, who approved the changes, has authorized the deployment of a squadron of F-22s to Kadena Air Force Base in Japan, which could happen "at any moment", Mr. Little added.

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