So far only JB Langley-Eustis, Va., and JB Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, have “paused” F-22 flight operations, after two Virginia-based Raptor pilots exhibited hypoxia-like symptoms last week. The other bases where F-22s regularly operate—Edwards AFB, Calif., Holloman AFB, N.M., Nellis AFB, Nev., and Tyndall AFB, Fla.—continue to conduct normal flight operations, although each base’s commander is following the issue closely, Lt. Col. John Haynes, an Air Force headquarters spokesman told the Daily Report Monday. “It’s going to be up to the wing commanders to decide how long to take a pause,” said Haynes. The Oct. 20 incidents at Langley-Eustis and the subsequent standdowns at the Virginia and Alaska bases occurred roughly one month after Air Combat Command lifted the fleet-wide F-22 grounding that took effect in May due to concerns over pilots exhibiting these same symptoms in some 12 cases going back to 2008.
Boeing’s receipt of the 10th lot contract award for the KC-46 Pegasus this week leaves just three lots left to complete the Air Force’s buy of the tanker, although a further buy of 75 additional aircraft as a “bridge” to the Next-Generation Aerial-refueling System (NGAS) seems increasingly likely.