Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
The Military Technology

Fatal Problems Continue To Plague F-22 Raptor 379

Posted by Soulskill
from the let's-keep-throwing-money-at-it-until-it-works dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "The LA Times reports that even though the Air Force has used its F-22 Raptor planes only in test missions, pilots have experienced seven major crashes with two deaths, a grim reminder that the U.S. military's most expensive fighter jet, never called into combat despite conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, continues to experience equipment problems — notably with its oxygen systems. New details from an Air Force report last week drew attention to a crash in November 2010 that left Capt. Jeff Haney dead and raised debate over whether the Air Force turned Haney into a scapegoat to escape more criticism of the F-22. Haney 'most likely experienced a sense similar to suffocation,' the report said. 'This was likely [Haney's] first experience under such physiological duress.' According to the Air Force Accident Report, Haney should have leaned over and with a gloved hand pulled a silver-dollar-size green ring that was under his seat by his left thigh to engage the emergency system (PDF). It takes 40 pounds of pull to engage the emergency system. That's a tall order for a man who has gone nearly a minute without a breath of air, speeding faster than sound, while wearing bulky weather gear, says Michael Barr, a former Air Force fighter pilot and former accident investigation officer. 'It would've taken superhuman efforts on the pilot's behalf to save that aircraft,' says Barr. 'The initial cause of this accident was a malfunction with the aircraft — not the pilot.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Fatal Problems Continue To Plague F-22 Raptor

Comments Filter:
  • by AB3A (192265) on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @04:56PM (#38439824) Homepage Journal

    In every case where aviation has been stretching the envelope, there have been accidents and fatalities. The GB Racer is a classic case of this. Many of the renown WWII aircraft had A versions that were anything but safe to fly.

    The venerated F-16 wasn't much to write home about either when it was first released. The engineers will learn and get experience. It will come at a horrible price. But if you wanted to live a safe life, you shouldn't be in the military in the first place.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by 0123456 (636235)

      Hasn't F-22 production been shut down? So 'lessons learned' won't help much.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Nimey (114278)

        Please. Lockheed will be getting upgrade contracts for years to come.

        • by 0123456 (636235)

          Please. Lockheed will be getting upgrade contracts for years to come.

          Sure, but that's minor compared to producing hundreds of new aircraft.

          • by fotbr (855184)

            You haven't seen what they can charge for updates.

          • by Richard_at_work (517087) <richardpriceNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @05:17PM (#38440152)

            Guess again, support and upgrade contracts can surpass construction contracts significantly - it's where most companies look to make the bulk of their profits in this arena.

            For example, recently the USAF asked for $8billion to upgrade the F-22 fleet to be able to use the much vaunted datalink capability. That's more than 10% of the current program cost.

            • by TubeSteak (669689) on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @06:16PM (#38441016) Journal

              For example, recently the USAF asked for $8 billion to upgrade the F-22 fleet to be able to use the much vaunted datalink capability. That's more than 10% of the current program cost.

              Sort of.
              The Air Force asked for the support contract limit to be raised from the existing $6 billion to $7.4 billion
              That extra $1.4 billion represents several upgrades, including data link.

            • by DragonHawk (21256) on Wednesday December 21, 2011 @02:08AM (#38445020) Homepage Journal

              Guess again, support and upgrade contracts can surpass construction contracts significantly - it's where most companies look to make the bulk of their profits in this arena.

              My employer makes parts for the F-22. (This isn't *that* special. Like most big government programs, the F-22 is carefully designed to spread the work across as many different Congressional funding districts as possible. But I digress.) When the program was cut, the people in that division started to really worry. A year later, it turns out we're actually getting almost as much business as originally planned. Since they didn't buy as many planes, they're having to fly the planes they do have more, which means they're burning through spare parts faster.

              The Law of Unintended Consequences strikes again.

        • by Dahamma (304068) on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @06:07PM (#38440886)

          Not if they keep crashing all of the ones that were built... at this rate there won't be many left to upgrade...

    • by Richard_at_work (517087) <richardpriceNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @05:07PM (#38439982)

      There's nothing cutting edge about the inboard oxygen system on the F-22, which is where they have had a lot of problems recently - it *should* be a solved problem, but seems not to be.

      • by jellomizer (103300) on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @05:43PM (#38440530)
        Remember that if you are a programmer and your program goes into production and it fails within the first 5 minutes when you import the data because you code fails on O'Connor.
        Sure any programmer with his salt knows how to fix it and should have though about it before hand... However things slip threw the cracks, as you are focusing on proof of concepts, then by the time you got the proof of concept working you were behind schedule and never really went back and looked at your data inputs (for that one routine).
        Then it goes out and you end up looking like an idiot.
        Mistakes happen, most mistakes that cause the biggest problems are the ones that are easiest to solve, and are often just overlooked mistakes.
        Because Oxygen system wasn't cutting edge, I am willing to bet no one stressed out too much over it, as it was a piece of cake issue. Well it got overlooked and it cost peoples lives (which is much worse then looking like an idiot). But where was the mistake.... Lets go back to the code example.
        Sure you are to blame because you coded it, but QA should have tested common names with special characters, management should have adjusted their project plan because you were having issues getting some proof of concepts working... Mistakes even big ones really isn't any ones problem but usually due to a full breakdown in the organization.
    • by MetalliQaZ (539913) on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @05:07PM (#38439986)

      In this case, though, the "OBOGS" oxygen system had an "air bleed failure" which probably means that it was still generating oxygen, but there was no pressure to deliver the oxygen to the pilot. Sounds like a gasket, seal, or hose failure. Those things are hardly bleeding edge technology. Another possible cause was the overly difficult emergency pull. Again, not exactly hi-tech. These kinds of design problems are often attributable to poor management in the design phase, rushed development, or sweeping known problems under the rug because of budgetary concerns.

      • by bigtrike (904535) on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @05:11PM (#38440062)

        It seems like this should have been automatically switched on.

      • by PyroMosh (287149) on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @05:26PM (#38440280) Homepage

        No, that is not what this means.

        "Air bleed" is the method by which the OBOGS generates breathable air. It's called "bleed" because it "bleeds" off a small amount of air from the engine's compressor system. (This air can also be used for deicing flight surfaces, generating power, and other purposes).

        An "air bleed failure" means that either no air is getting into the system, or a sensor failed and it thinks no air is getting into the system.

        To summarize, this wasn't a failure where air was bleeding, this was a failure of the system that bleeds air from the engine for the pilot to breathe. That's important to understand.

        • by tibit (1762298)

          That's semi-wrong. It was a failure of where the air was bleeding. The bleed air isolation valves closed because there was a leak in the bleed air duct. Since bleed air is hot, a leak in a wrong place is likely to cause a fire, thus the fire control system's leak detection triggered the environmental control system (ECS) to stop bleed air from the engines from reaching the things it normally feeds, including the oxygen generator.

        • by couchslug (175151) on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @07:25PM (#38442034)

          The standard term is "bleed air", not "air bleed". (I was an F-16 engine mech and crew chief (and Comm/Nav on Phantoms and Broncos).

          We don't yet know what caused the bleed air leak. but bleed air ducting isn't something new and leaks tend to be either because of improper connection or duct failure (bleed air is bled from the engine compressor, but it's HOT and at very high volume).

          http://defensetech.org/2011/12/15/af-alaska-f-22-crash-due-to-pilot-error/ [defensetech.org]

          "While the oxygen generating system on Haneyâ(TM)s jet didnâ(TM)t fail, it did shut down because oxygen from the bleed air system, which feeds the OBOGS, was leaking into the engine spaces"

          Cooling and running it through a molecular sieve to save doing LOX servicing is theoretically a good idea, but the MAIN reason to have OBOGs is to get rid of the base LOX plant, support equipment, and servicing personnel.

          Some "ancient" history:

          http://www.f20a.com/f20obogs.htm [f20a.com]

      • by tibit (1762298) on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @06:05PM (#38440842)

        You've mixed things up, it makes no sense. I've read the report. Here's what happened:

        1. The fire control system (FCS) detected a bleed air duct leak and has closed the isolation valves, cutting off engine bleed air from reaching the bleed air manifold (or duct). Bleed air is hot air from the compressor, used to power other systems. This triggers the "C BLEED HOT" caution.

        2. Loss of bleed air made the following systems inoperational: environmental control system (ECS), forced air cooling for avionics et al (ACS), oxygen generator (OBOGS), inert gas generator (OBIGGS), cabin pressurization.

        3. About 5 seconds after the bleed air was cut off, a new caution appeared: "OBOGS FAIL". This means the oxygen generator is out and you have to activate emergency oxygen generator on your seat - soon. That one is on your seat because it has to supply you with oxygen when you eject.

        4. About 14 seconds later, a sensor picks up loss of oxygen pressure to the mask (from failed OBOGS).

        That's all there's to it. Apparently the pilot never managed to activate emergency oxygen, and while fumbling with that he also bumped the control stick and rudder, causing the aircraft to fly a "random" trajectory. The cabin is cramped, and with extra cold weather gear it's nigh impossible to activate that emergency oxygen without bumping into things. That is a design issue, as well as the awkward way of activating that emergency oxygen system (you have to pull a ring from a hip level about 2 in. forward (away from you) with 40lb or more of force.

        The report is here [airforce-magazine.com].

        • by Mr. Freeman (933986) on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @07:16PM (#38441902)
          I have no idea what dipshit decided that would be a good place for such an important device. Not to mention how ridiculously easy it is to install backwards and possibly render completely inoperable. 40 pounds of force straight forward from your hip while sitting down, wearing all sorts of shit, and trying not to bump anything else in the process, absolutely fucking ridiculous.

          The report mentions that in tests they managed to activate the system while installed backwards, but I wonder if that's only because it was under controlled conditions. Is there the slightest chance in hell that anyone could do this in an emergency (which is literally the only time you would ever have to do this)?

          And then the fact that it's hard to locate if dropped due to the cable jamming, a failure to exert the necessary force, etc. Short of removing the system entirely, I don't think it's possible to design anything worse. This design is a textbook example of how not to design an emergency system.
        • by Solandri (704621) on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @07:41PM (#38442220)
          The report also says cabin pressure was lost. The incident happened at over 50,000 feet. At that altitude, air pressure is about 1/10th that at sea level. Even if you're breathing 100% oxygen, you're only getting about half the oxygen you would at sea level, about as much as you get at 15,000-20,000 feet. While that would've been enough to stave off unconsciousness, I'm skeptical just how useful the pilot's mental faculties would have been even if he turned on the emergency oxygen at that altitude.

          From the plane's trajectory, it seems his first action upon comprehending the failure was to put the plane into a dive to get it into thicker, breathable air. Unfortunately it sounds like he lost consciousness during this maneuver, before he could turn on the emergency oxygen generator, and only regained consciousness a few seconds before impact.
      • by timeOday (582209)

        Another possible cause was the overly difficult emergency pull. Again, not exactly hi-tech. These kinds of design problems are often attributable to poor management in the design phase, rushed development, or sweeping known problems under the rug because of budgetary concerns.

        I would be very surprised if the 40 lb pull was designed that way without any thought. These emergency actions (ejection seats being the obvious example) are a difficult tradeoff between quick emergency access, vs. preventing accide

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      "if you wanted to live a safe life, you shouldn't be in the military in the first place."
      This is a load of Horse Shit. This is not whats at issue here.
      There is a difference between dying in combat or for a cause and dying due to someone's incompetence or unfinished work.

      If this was a car then lawyers, consumer prot organizations, and the gov will all be up in arms. Any industry is accountable with dire consequences. What was acceptable 70 yrs ago is no more, and the same applies for all industries; I don't

      • by Jeng (926980) on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @05:23PM (#38440250)

        There is a difference between dying in combat or for a cause and dying due to someone's incompetence or unfinished work.

        Test pilot is synonymous with risk, even more so than being a fighter pilot.

        If this was a car then lawyers, consumer prot organizations, and the gov will all be up in arms.

        But it is not a car is it?

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @05:10PM (#38440050)

      In every case where aviation has been stretching the envelope, there have been accidents and fatalities. The GB Racer is a classic case of this. Many of the renown WWII aircraft had A versions that were anything but safe to fly.

      The venerated F-16 wasn't much to write home about either when it was first released. The engineers will learn and get experience. It will come at a horrible price. But if you wanted to live a safe life, you shouldn't be in the military in the first place.

      OBOGS isn't bleeding edge even F16s used them http://www.cobham.com/media/75388/SYSTEM%20F-16%20OBOGS%20ADV10556.pdf

      This is just a case of poor design, the Eurofighter has Oxygen level warning system, the F22 doesn't. If you put the emergency O2 actuator in an ergonomically challenging position, what do you expect?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by rahvin112 (446269)

      The crashes of the early F-16 that they couldn't figure out were related to a similar situation but it was blood deprivation of the brain in High G Turns. They didn't actually figure out what the problem was until a pilot woke up from the blackout and bailed out before his plane crashed. It's because of those crashes that pilots today where flight suits that constrict the legs to keep blood in the upper body and there's now a significant warning system when the pilot pulls turns that exceed the G-rating of

      • by PyroMosh (287149) on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @05:37PM (#38440452) Homepage

        No. Read the report:

        http://usaf.aib.law.af.mil/ExecSum2011/F-22A_AK_16%20Nov%2010.pdf [af.mil]

        This wasn't a case of extraordinary circumstances. This was calm, high altitude flight where a critical (but understood) subsystem failed.

        The pilot then became distracted by the system failure possible because of oxygen deprivation, or because the emergency air control was in an ergonomically challenging location. While distracted, he became inverted (240 degree roll during descent) and didn't attempt to correct until 3 seconds prior to impact.

        The ergonomic issue may be a contributing cause. but a pilot *must* be able to continue instrument scan while dealing with an emergency. Just because you're air doesn't work doesn't mean you can't still crash while dealing with that.

        It's sad, but more or less understood what happened.

        • by rahvin112 (446269) on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @05:57PM (#38440742)

          Pardon me but I won't believe the government report out of the gate, the DOD has a tendency to blame personal off the cuff before the real facts are in.

          They made similar bullshit claims about pilot error on the F-16 until the guy survived the crash and reported blacking out and then they put cameras in the cockpit and recorded the pilots blacking out. I'm old enough to remember those crashes (half of them were in my state) and all the blame they heaped on the pilots until the real facts came out and AFAIK they never retracted the allegations of pilot misconduct.

          So I'm going to wait a while and see what really develops before I believe a report whose purpose appears to be to blame the pilot.

      • by lennier (44736) on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @06:28PM (#38441206) Homepage

        It's just a simple reality that as we push the aircraft engineering to the edge of our capabilities that they will find areas where the body can't keep up, just like with the F-16.

        There's a simple and obvious solution: replace the human pilot with an artificial intelligence which is almost 100% guaranteed to probably never go rogue and generally speaking has a low probability of wiping out the human race. It will be developed using a best-practices extreme programming rapid iteration test-driven model and we'll do our best to test it thoroughly before launch, but, well, there was time pressure, it was a bad economy, we had to cut costs and rationalise our testing plan, mistakes do happen, and long story short, we're all very sorry about what happened to Las Vegas. But the 2.0 model will be 150% faster and we'll completely rewrite the hatred module.

    • by jd (1658)

      DeHavilland had chief executives as part of the test pilot crew. They still had fatal accidents, but strangely not as many as other companies. I think if military aircraft companies like Boeing and Lockheed Martin adopted a similar strategy, you'd see designs improving very rapidly indeed.

  • by Dr. Spork (142693) on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @05:03PM (#38439916)
    Yeah, it sounds like whoever made these things and charged the government billions had really screwed up. Luckily, they are never going to get another multibillion dollar contract from the government, right? I mean, if they did, that could screw that one up just as badly, and then where would we be? We're lucky that we don't live in some communist country where arms manufacturers just get fat from the handouts of the government without any real accountability.
  • by perpenso (1613749) on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @05:06PM (#38439978)
    Deja Vu. F16 pilots were also falsely blamed when the true fault was a hardware failure in instrumentation. Wiring rubbing against a rivet eventually shorted out IIRC and pilots were given erroneous info regarding which way is up or down, critical when flying on instruments (zero visibility) where a pilots ignores his senses and puts full faith in instruments.
  • by wierd_w (1375923) on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @05:31PM (#38440362)

    A series of engineers argue over who's fault it was.

    Was it engineer A, who had to make the emergency system require 40kilos of pull to activate, due to flak that it might engage accidentally if the craft hits stiff turbulence or is kicked while the pilot is entering the cockpit?

    Was it engineer B, who designed the oxygen recirculation system, and had to work within the physical space and weight restrictions imposed by engineers C and D, resulting in a suboptimal implementation?

    Was it engineer C, who designed the superstructure of the figher's cockpit, for failing to fully appreciate the downstream requirements of his peers?

    Was it engineer D, who designed the aesthetic and aerodynamic form of the fighter, imposing limitations on engineers A through C, and many others, for continuing the trend of smaller, faster, sleeker, and more compact designs?

    Or was it engineer E, who oversaw ergonomic annd human interaction studies that led to the requirements statements fed to engineers A through D?

    Was it the beaurocracies involved in construction, telling the engineers to use cheaper, more easily sourced materials so that the fighter comes out underbudget?

    With all these parties in the room, bickering over who's fault it was, is it any wonder that the dead pilot, who can't stand up for himself, is the one that got blamed to save face?

    Really. I work in aerospace. Many of the people in the engineering depts of major companies act like their shit doesn't stink, even when it obviously does. I make inspection blueprints, and when the degrees of a circular pattern exceed 360 degrees, or when point to point dimensions exceed total part length, and you inform them of the impossibility of these design specs, more often than not your time would be better spent talking to a brick wall.

    It's like trying to have an informed discussion on computing with an ardent member of the cult of mac. All you will get back is snide remarks, or pretentious silence. You can quote rules of geometry until you are blue in the face. Quote directly from the gd&t manual for geometric tolerancing, or even play dumb and ask politely what their intentions were... result is almost always the same.

    Don't you know, they have degrees, make big salaries, and are important. They never make mistakes. Just ask them.

    I have been surprised a few times by polite aerospace engineers that own up to drafting errors, omissions, and flat out screwups before, and I am always cordial and polite with them. But for the most part, all I get back is silence, and derision.

    (Just to clarify what I do: I make manufacturing drawings used for internal QA processes. Often times the customer supplied data is a digital nurbs representation of a part with some datum features called out, hole sizes listed and annotated, an some geometric tolerancing frames tacked on. My job is to take this data and in conjunction with the customer's tolerancing guidelines and practices documentation, create drawings that inspectors can use to validate the part was properly manufactured. This requires that they accurately convey the engineering intent of their geometry and datum choices. This is why I sometimes have to ask seemingly silly questions when they break the rules for gd&t frames, or define impossible (mathematically so) tolerances. You would probably be stunned how often I catch insane engineering mistakes because they pencilwhipped shit, and have to figure out the fit form and function myself, because they won't own up to it.)

    • by BeerCat (685972)

      Some excellent points there.

      I'd go with Engineer D - for not "continuing the trend of smaller". The F-22 is pretty much the same size as the F-15 (62ft long with 44ft wingspan for the Raptor). And still around the same size (though with a larger wingspan) than the F-4 Phantom II.

      And, going back further, the F-86 Sabre was 37ft long; 37ft wingspan, roughly the same size as the P-51 Mustang.

    • As a MechE who is currently working in Aerospace doing design, let me tell you that those of us who know how to properly CAD stuff up and indicate the important dimensions on a drawing hate the other guys as much as you do. I can't say how many times I've opened up a part file, gone to the sketch, and found that none of the lines were fully constrained, or the constraints were arbitrary and were only tangentially related to the driving dimensions. I used to go back to the original author and ask what was going on in their head, but found it to be easier to just silently redo constraints on the features that needed it, hopefully without moving any lines. The place I'm in now is full of people who have been using NX since it was new, and yet the "guru"s in house all say that sketches are bad and want us to use solid features instead - completely ignoring that it's so much harder to change parameters when a design needs to change, all because sketches used to suck (or so I hear) and they can't be arsed to learn how to use constraints correctly now.

      The fun part comes when you have to mix units - two weeks ago I had to draft up a simple adapter plate that had 4 force transducers on it, which all happened to have metric bolt patterns. Trying to indicate that the distance to the center of each group of holes was the driving dimension is fun when you don't have a feature at the actual center, but at least you can dual dimension with the nice even number in mm under the ugly inch one. (disclaimer: I hate the english system. I have to use it because that's the policy when you're .gov).
      Then there's the "here's a vaguely circular bolt pattern with 28 thru holes, and the only important thing is that they're symmetric about a center point, have a minimum radius, and line up so the bolts go into a 1" grid on some table somewhere", but that ends up needing 20 dimensions and all sorts of center lines. These are times when GD&T is just annoying and it would be a whole lot easier for me to put a note on there with the intention (though that's probably because I don't know enough yet to do it cleanly and correctly).

      I like it when the machinists or someone else checking the drawing tells me what I did wrong so I can fix it and not have them need to yell at me again - I just wish more people I worked with had that attitude.

      • by wierd_w (1375923) on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @07:26PM (#38442056)

        Sounds like you and I would get along great.

        I am a stickler for model quality. I've been called on to design tooling and fixturing for manufacturing purposes, and really, not constraining your sketches, or using sane build parameters is writing a recipie for disaster later on when you need to make a revision. Cad software these days can let you make some truly beautiful design models that are built to resist breaking in amazing ways. (Catia's knowledgeware comes instantly to mind. You can do some really crazy stuff with the knowledge workbenches.)

        That said.....

        I have seen some of the worst models in the history of aviation come out of gulfstream. For confidentiality reasons, I won't name my employer, or the part series, but the models for a series of wing support bulkheads they sent us for manufacture had the following things wrong with them:

        They pencil whipped the floor fillet information into the parts list. They did not model the floor fillets into the digital models. The filletless models were used for the stress and weight metrics in other engineering depts.

        The geometry that was supposed to be filleted would result in impossible geometric configurations with the fillets in place.

        Full radius fillets in slots that have non-normal walls were done in such a way that the models had a jagged edge where two discrete fillets failed to propery merge.

        Location authority for holes was not given to the solid model, but to a pencil whipped cad drawing going to two decimal places (inch), with tight tolerances beyond two places.

        Geometry was "boolean split disco fever" in nature; featues that should be nominally parallel were angled by .000000X degrees instead, poor surface tangencies were extant everywhere, and surfaces did not align cleanly.

        Long story short, I had to spend an entire month cleaning up and interpreting the data they sent us, just so I could ultimately rebuild their models in a sanitized and useful format for our CNC programmers.

        Seeing shit like that makes me hope to god that I never have to fly in one of their planes.

  • Priorities. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JoshuaZ (1134087) on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @05:33PM (#38440396) Homepage
    The F22 program has cost around 66 billion dollars. That's about equivalent to a mission to Mars and two copies of the Superconducting Supercollider. That's equivalent to about 130 rovers of the same type as Opportunity and Spirit (ignoring the economies of scale that would substantially reduce the cost of having a lot of them). Etc. Etc. Instead we get unworking jet fighters that are supposed to be better than our previous jet fighters which are already estimated to be better than any other anyone else has in the world. Great priorities.
    • by Black Parrot (19622) on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @06:37PM (#38441314)

      The F22 program has cost around 66 billion dollars. That's about equivalent to a mission to Mars and two copies of the Superconducting Supercollider. That's equivalent to about 130 rovers of the same type as Opportunity and Spirit (ignoring the economies of scale that would substantially reduce the cost of having a lot of them). Etc. Etc. Instead we get unworking jet fighters that are supposed to be better than our previous jet fighters which are already estimated to be better than any other anyone else has in the world. Great priorities.

      Yes, but at least buying F22s puts all that money in the right pockets.

  • Weird. I remember flying a Raptor back in 1994. Thing wrecked everything in its path, no problems. The best was when I installed the tracking gun to shoot up targets I wasn't even aiming at, to say nothing of the badass EMP cannon. Laid waste to most of the Third World with that baby.

    Almost 20 years on and now it has problems? Definitely a government clusterfuck at work here.

  • by 3seas (184403) on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @05:44PM (#38440542) Journal

    Drone technology to replace the human who needs oxygen...

  • by jo7hs2 (884069) on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @07:09PM (#38441792) Homepage
    Opponents of the F-22 keep screaming about how it has never been used in combat, despite three conflicts having occurred since they entered active service. Problem is, neither Iraq nor Libya had a functional air force that actually tried to fight AND posed a serious threat to our aircraft. The Taliban doesn't have an air force, and at the start of the war in Afganistan (prior to the F-22 achieving active status) Afganistan's air force was basically rusting hulks. This is an air superiority fighter. It isn't meant to bomb things. It is a predator, built to hunt and kill fighter aircraft, nothing more. That role justifies a lower overall number of aircraft, but the aircraft still needs to exist. In a conflict with a country with a formidable air force, such as China or Russia, or at least a functional one like North Korea or Iran, this aircraft would be invaluable. It could mean the difference between victory and defeat. I for one am glad it hasn't seen combat yet. That said, it looks like they need to fix the emergency O2 system. Might not be a bad idea to find a way to provide a graceful failure of the primary system, too, or automatically activate the backup. Either way...fix the damned thing.
    • by roc97007 (608802)

      I've been thinking about this. You definitely want to make the emergency oxygen handle easier to grasp, I'm thinking.

      But you don't necessarily want to have your emergency oxygen turn on automatically, unless you're ejecting, perhaps, because you may need that oxygen if you *do* have to eject. I'd prefer to see either a layer between the primary system and the pilot's mask, or a secondary system. For instance, oxygen from OBOGS compressing a tank which feeds the mask, with the tank providing a reasonable

  • Test missions? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by RockoTDF (1042780) on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @07:10PM (#38441806) Homepage
    Uhh....bullshit. They haven't flown in combat yet (because there has been no need for strict air-to-air combat since they came in service), but they are a part of the air defense system and have intercepted russian bombers near the arctic.
  • by roc97007 (608802) on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @07:30PM (#38442104) Journal

    I read with interest the many knowledgeable comments in this thread, and understand that it takes awhile to get bugs out of a new airframe, and testing a new plane is not conducive of a long and happy life.

    But I have to ask; the F22 came out in 1997. It's been out for more than a decade. So they're still finding ergonomic issues in the emergency systems?

    Looking at this and at the shambles we've made of our manned space capability, and I have to wonder if a government at some point grows so bureaucratic that it can no longer successfully do the big projects.

  • by PortHaven (242123) on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @07:38PM (#38442190) Homepage

    "I find the cause of the mishap was the MP's [mishap pilot] failure to recognize and initiate a timely dive recovery due to channelized attention, breakdown of visual scan and unrecognized spatial disorientation."

    - President of the AIB, Brig. Gen. James Browne

    [TRANSLATION: "Yuri Gagarin was not the first Russian in outer space. However, we do not mention the other for he was not loyal enough to hold his breath when the oxygen recycling system failed."]

  • by tsotha (720379) on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @09:35PM (#38443266)

    the U.S. military's most expensive fighter jet, never called into combat despite conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, continues to experience equipment problems

    I had to roll my eyes at this little gem. Yes, it's never been called on despite the small wars we've fought over the last decade. Because it's an air superiority fighter. We haven't fought anyone who could challenge the decades old F-16, let alone the F-15 or the F-22. Shall we use a screwdriver to pound in a nail because it's a really expensive screwdriver?

    If we actually use the F-22 for anything more than a glorified test of its pitiful strike capability then something really bad has happened, because it means the US is at war with a country like the UK, France, Russia, China, or India.

"Our reruns are better than theirs." -- Nick at Nite

Working...