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

Contrary to sensationalist reporting elsewhere that may have you believing that all F-35 Joint Strike Fighter’s had been grounded, the fact is that less than a quarter of the 230+ F-35 Joint Strike Fighters were ‘temporarily’ grounded.

Terry Turner

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Contrary to sensationalist reporting elsewhere that may have you believing that all F-35 Joint Strike Fighter’s had been grounded, the fact is that less than a quarter of the 230+ F-35 Joint Strike Fighters were ‘temporarily’ grounded.

The temporary grounding is isolated to the JSF ‘training base’, specifically Luke Air Force Base in Arizona, announced after a series of 5 physiological incidents believed hypoxia-related since early May, according to USAF spokesman Captain Mark Graff. In each case, the backup oxygen system worked as intended and the pilots were able to land safely, Graff said.

[blockquote style=”1″]The number of jets actually involved in these incidents is unknown, beyond common mathematics pointing to a ‘maximum of 5’.[/blockquote]

Beyond a total of 55 jets temporarily grounded at that base, while the issue is explored, F-35’s continue flying elsewhere.

It is noteworthy that the two Joint Strike Fighters scheduled to fly across the Atlantic Ocean to attend the highly-anticipated Paris Air Show, are not affected by the grounding.

Hypoxia-related incidents have occurred with F22 Raptors and Hornets over the years, it’s not uncommon especially when new aircraft are being ironed out. As you would expect, such issues are taken seriously and addressed accordingly.

This statement released by Secretary of the US Air Force Public Affairs confuirms this approach “In order to synchronize operations and maintenance efforts toward safe flying operations we have cancelled local F-35A flying,” said Brig. Gen. Brook Leonard, the 56th Fighter Wing commander. “The Air Force takes these physiological incidents seriously, and our focus is on the safety and well-being of our pilots. We are taking the necessary steps to find the root cause of these incidents.”

Moving forward, U.S. and international pilots were being educated on the situation to increase their awareness of hypoxia symptoms. Pilots were to be briefed on all the incidents that have occurred and the successful actions taken by the pilots to safely recover their aircraft. Flight medicine will brief physiological symptoms and also the extensive measures that are being taken to analyse data collected from the incidents. Finally, the 56th Operations Group advised they will hold an open forum to discuss any concerns pilots may have given these recent occurrences.

More broadly, the F-35 Joint Program Office has stood up a formal action team of engineers, maintainers and aeromedical specialists to examine the incidents to better understand the issue.

These subject matter experts will share the data across the F-35 enterprise and with partner nations – including Australia.

So the sky isn’t falling, and nor are the Joint Strike Fighters!

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.

Defence News

The Invictus Coin

Terry Turner

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Photo: LS Jayson Tufrey

Australia’s two dollar coin has undergone an Invictus games Sydney 2018 makeover

Produced in partnership with Invictus Games Sydney 2018, the new coin will celebrate the unconquered spirit of wounded, injured and ill service personnel and veterans across Australia.

The Royal Australian Mint expects to release 2.3 million of the coins into public circulation over the coming months, ensuring they reach Australian’s wallets and change in time for Invictus Games Sydney 2018 to be held from 20 to 27 October.

As an Official Supporter of Invictus Games Sydney 2018, the Mint is producing medals for the Games and will also release a series of commemorative products leading up to the event.

The Invictus Games is an international adaptive sporting event for serving and formerly serving military personnel who have become wounded, injured or ill during their military service. The Games use the power of sport to inspire recovery, support rehabilitation and generate a wider understanding and respect for wounded, injured and ill servicemen and women.

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Defence News

New Secretary of Defence Greg Moriarty takes over from Acting Secretary Mr Brendan Sargeant.

The ADF has a new Secretary of the Department of Defence, Mr Greg Moriarty.

D+I Newsroom

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The Department of Defence has today warmly welcomed their new Secretary of the Department of Defence, Greg Moriarty.

The Departments facebook post advises Mr Moriarty brings a wealth of experience to the role and that prior to taking up the position of Secretary, Mr Moriarty served as Chief of Staff, and earlier as International and National Security Adviser, to the Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull.

He also served as the first Commonwealth Counter-Terrorism Coordinator, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

Mr Moriarty has also held the positions of Deputy Secretary, Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and Ambassador to both Indonesia and Iran.
We are looking forward to working with Mr Moriarty.

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Defence News

Prime Minister appoints Mr Greg Moriarty as Secretary of Defence.

D+I Newsroom

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The Prime Minister has announced the appointment of Mr Greg Moriarty as Secretary of Defence.

Mr Moriarty will take up his appointment on 4 September 2017.

Until then Brendan Sargeant will continue to act as Secretary.

More soon…

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