Backup Oxygen Systems Ordered for F-22

The Air Force on June 5 awarded Lockheed Martin a $19.2 million contract to procure the first batch of automatic backup oxygen systems for the F-22 fleet. The service is installing A-BOS on its F-22s as an added safety measure for F-22 pilots in the wake of some Raptor pilots experiencing hypoxia-like symptoms like dizziness and disorientation in flight. These incidents led to a temporary grounding of the Raptor fleet last year. Under the terms of the contract, Lockheed Martin will provide 40 A-BOS kits for retrofit, plus non–recurring engineering activities and 10 spares, by April 2013. Last month, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta directed the Air Force to accelerate the schedule for installing A-BOS on all 185 F-22s by about a year. Under this expedited schedule, the first retrofit is planned in December, and the upgrade is expected to be completed across the F-22 fleet in June 2014, service officials have said. (See DOD’s June 5 list of major contracts.)