U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) and Rep. Adam Kinzinger (IL-11) today held a media conference call following the Pentagon's announcement on the F-22 Raptor. U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta today instructed the Air Force to restrict F-22 flight activities, and to work with NASA and the Navy to find solutions to F-22 oxygen-deprivation issues. These actions were a direct result of Sen. Warner's and Rep. Kinzinger's continued pressure on the Secretary of the Air Force to take action.
In a media conference call, Warner and Kinzinger explained that while they are pleased with Secretary Panetta's orders, there is more work to be done to ensure the safety of the pilots and to strengthen the F-22 Raptor program:
"Secretary Panetta's actions are a start, but I remain disappointed in the lack of transparency in the response by the Air Force so far," Sen. Warner said. "The safety of these pilots and our military communities is paramount, and it is imperative that the Air Force allows pilots and flight surgeons to express their views without a threat of reprisals. We also need to reach out to a broader array of expertise in order to fix this aircraft."
"The F-22 Raptor is essential to a strong national defense in this country," said Rep. Kinzinger. "However, we must ensure this program is running at 100 percent and at this time, it is not. Senator Warner and I have grave concerns over the condition of the F-22 and are committed to making sure these pilots are safe and free from retribution. After today's briefing, I am hopeful that the Air Force will work with us to resolve this issue expeditiously."