Stealth Coatings Behind F-22 Cough?
The Air Force says its F-22 Raptor brings something to the battle that no other U.S. jet fighter can match: Its ability to evade radar through stealth technology.
But now critics are offering up a troubling hypothesis: Could the very materials that make the Raptor stealthy be contributing to problems of dizziness and disorientation that some pilots have experienced in the cockpit?
Air Force investigators are looking into the possibility that toxic substances are infiltrating the pilot's air supply. That's one of their main theories. The other is that pilots are simply not getting enough oxygen.
Pierre Sprey, who was heavily involved in the design of the F-16 fighter and has been critical of the F-22, noted many possible sources for toxic fumes on a jet like the Raptor, such as hydraulic fluid or overheated plastics.
His belief that stealth coatings play a role is based on anecdotes that seem unique to the F-22 — the so-called "Raptor cough" and feelings of disorientation that persist well after a mission ends. He recently outlined his views in an article co-authored with Dina Rasor, an investigator and author who founded the Bauman and Rasor Group, which helps whistleblowers file lawsuits under federal law.
Sprey said if those symptoms are unique to Raptor pilots, perhaps it's connected to what is unique about the Raptor itself: The stealth material, which contains layers bonded together with noxious adhesives.
It is a "very, very serious problem if materials in the Raptor skin are generating vapors at levels high enough to cause a pilot to feel dizzy, he said.
"By the time it gets high enough to give you something like hypoxia, you've really had a snootful," he said.
Sen. Mark R. Warner has heard from several Raptor pilots and Air Force flight surgeons who have confided their concerns about the fighter. The idea that the stealth coatings could be source of toxins is one of the theories coming "from credible people," said Warner spokesman Kevin Hall.
Source: 29 May 2012 - dailyairforce News
Photo: The U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor (Photo by Dan Perrino /flickr)
• U.S. Navy shapes UCLASS acquisition strategy
Upcoming shore-based and carrier tests will help the Navy determine its acquisition strategy for the Unmanned Carrier Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike System (UCLASS), a l...>>
• BAE's superdrone Taranis to be tested at Woomera
The most secretive piece of airspace in Australia - the RAAF-run Woomera flight test range in South Australia - will make history later this year when the world's first unmanned su...>>
• Bell unveils V-280 Valor
Bell Helicopter, a Textron Inc. company, revealed today the Bell V-280 Valor, its offering for the Joint Multi Role/Future Vertical Lift (FVL) Technology Demonstrator (JMR/TD), at ...>>
• This is the concept fighter Boeing wants to make real by 2030
The F-22 Raptor is what's called a fifth-generation fighter, making it the most advanced combat aircraft as of, well, right now. But around here, we don't care about right now, we'...>>
• First B-2 surpasses 7,000 flight hours
Since the first B-2 Spirit arrived here in July 1996, its stealthiness and massive firepower have been used in missions around the world....>>
• Government, Dassault at loggerheads over HAL role in combat Aircraft deal
The Indian government’s biggest defence acquisition of 126 medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA) from French defence major Dassault Aviation could be delayed as the both partie...>>
• China Claims Innovation in J-20 Weapons Bay Design
China’s under-development ChengduJ-20 combat aircraft recently demonstrated its missile-launch mechanism, which the Chinese media tout as a simple but “more efficient” design than ...>>