The FACTS – Less than a quarter of F-35’s have been grounded (LATEST UPDATE)

Joint-Strike-Fighter-Grounded

In an update to our original article, about the temporary grounding of some F-35’s, Defence + Industry Magazine sought a response from Defence’ to the following questions “Could you please confirm that Australian F-35’s ‘were not’ implicated specifically in the 5 hypoxia-related incidents and that Australia Pilots ‘have not’ experienced hypoxia-related issues”.

An Australian Defence spokesperson has advised D+IM of the following information:

Local flights of F-35A from Luke Air Force Base were suspended by the US Air Force on 9 June 2017 to enable a comprehensive review of the facts and circumstances surrounding the physiological episodes recently reported. Pilots experiencing these episodes have reported hypoxia-like symptoms. 

The Australian Senior National Representative at Luke Air Force Base concurred with the US Air Force decision and exercised his authority to suspend Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) pilots from flying pending the outcomes from the review.  

No Australian pilots have been affected by the episodes.

In each episode reported, the aircraft’s backup oxygen system operated as designed and each pilot followed the correct procedures, landing the aircraft safely. 

Physiological episodes are experienced occasionally in other fighter aircraft. Aircrew receive appropriate training and employ procedures if they are affected by such episodes. 

The global F-35 Program is still in the developmental phase and attention is quickly focused on identifying and remedying any system anomaly.

There are more than 200 F-35 aircraft already being flown by the US and Partner nations, with over 90,000 flight hours logged across operational and test aircraft.

Australia remains on track to deliver the F-35A Initial Operating Capability in December 2020.

Read our earlier article here

Terry Turner

Terry Turner is Senior Editor for Defence.com.au and Editor in Chief for the entire stable of CYBER PRESS magazines.CYBER PRESS is an Australian media business specialising in multi-channel broad audience online digital publishing. Our company is the evolution of Eco Magazines, Australia's premiere dedicated online publisher of full-format digital magazines. Put simply, we specialise, where many merely dabble.

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