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US Air Force F-35A grounding at Luke AFB continues

13 June 2017

The US Air Force (USAF), for the second consecutive day, cancelled 12 June flight operations of its Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters (JSF) located at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona, according to a service spokesperson.

USAF spokesperson Major Rebecca Heyse said on 12 June in a statement the 56th Fighter Wing will continue its pause in local F-35A flying to co-ordinate analysis and communication between pilots, maintainers, medical professionals, and a team of military and industry experts. This co-ordination, she said, will include technical analysis of the physiological incidents to date and discussions on possible risk mitigation options to enable a return to flying operations.

Maj Heyse said the investigation has not expanded service-wide. The USAF on 9 June cancelled local flight operations at Luke AFB after a series of five incidents in the last six weeks where pilots experienced hypoxia-like symptoms. Luke AFB has 55 conventional variant F-35As and 25 F-35A sorties, or flights, scheduled for 9 June were cancelled.

The USAF plans to buy 1,763 F-35A conventional variant aircraft. USAF spokesperson Colonel Patrick Ryder said on 9 June the USAF has received more than 100 F-35As. F-35 prime contractor Lockheed Martin on 12 June deferred a request for comment to the USAF.

The US Air Force grounded its fleet of F-35As at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona for the second consecutive day due to concerns over hypoxia-like symptoms in some pilots. (Lockheed Martin)The US Air Force grounded its fleet of F-35As at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona for the second consecutive day due to concerns over hypoxia-like symptoms in some pilots. (Lockheed Martin)



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