U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner and U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL-11) issued the following joint comment today after the U.S. Air Force made several announcements regarding the F-22 Raptor. Since May, Senator Warner and Representative Kinzinger have been calling on the Air Force to determine why some pilots of the F-22 Raptor have experienced dangerous incidents of oxygen deprivation and blackouts:
"Returning the F-22 to 100% mission capability and protecting our pilots has been our shared goal throughout this discussion, so it is promising that consultation with NASA and the Navy appears to be pointing the Air Force toward a potential solution to the F-22 oxygen deprivation issues.
"It makes sense to maintain a majority of Secretary Panetta's safety restrictions on the F-22 while the Air Force looks further into potential issues with a valve and a hose that connects to the survival gear worn by pilots. We certainly look forward to much more specific information about these problems and proposed solutions during our briefing with the Air Force, which has been scheduled for July 31st.
"In addition, the Air Force confirmed today that it has removed a charcoal breathing filter that had the effect of further restricting oxygen flow and may, in fact, have created additional health issues for many pilots. It was concerns about these filters which prompted two Virginia Air National Guard whistleblowers to take their concerns to "60 Minutes.' Now that the Air Force is publicly acknowledging problems with the filter, and has ordered it removed from the F-22, we again urge the Air Force to do the right thing by rescinding the disciplinary actions that are still pending against these pilots."