F-35’s long litany of mishaps continues, after a number of in-flight oxygen deprivation incidents


A whole squadron of F-35 fighter jets has been grounded due to a dramatic increase in hypoxia incidents on board.

All F-35 aircraft attached to the 56th Fighter Wing at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona, US, have been grounded while an investigation into a number of ‘physiological incidents’ takes place.

Five pilots flying different F-35 jets based at Luke have experienced hypoxia symptoms on board since May 2, forcing the grounding of all aircraft at the base.

Hypoxia problems are relatively common in combat jet aircraft. Issues with the life support gear on board F-22 Raptors were identified and resolved back in 2012. And the F/A-18 Hornet’s fleet has also experienced similar problems across all its variants.

The current issue is of particular importance, as Luke Air Force Base is the pilot training hub for the F-35A variant. Pilots from several nations attend F-35 training programs a the location.

The aircraft, which has had a troubled development history, is manufactured in three versions: The F-35A is the Air Force model, and was declared airworthy and combat-ready in August 2016.

The F-35B is custom-made for the US Marine Corps (USMC). The F-35C, designed to be flown from carriers, is a ‘work in progress.’ 220 machines in total have been built, but none has seen combat yet.

The F-35 program is the most expensive military weapon system in history, having gone over $163bn over budget, and delivered seven years behind schedule.

The jet’s astronomical per-unit cost has caused heated controversy over the years, with experts citing that it delivers poor value for money when compared with older generation aircraft.

Wargames: Russian Su-27 ‘Flanker’ fighter aircraft intercepts US B-52 bomber flying over the Baltic Sea


Sources inside the Russian Defense Ministry have confirmed that a Su-27 jet was launched to intercept a long-range B-52 bomber flying over the Baltic Sea.

The Su-27 jet, codenamed ‘Flanker’ in NATO nomenclature, shadowed the US warplane on Monday morning until the B-52 left neutral airspace near the Russian border.

The Su-27, manufactured by Sukhoi, is a fixed-wing, twin-engine, air superiority war machine, designed to outmaneuver America’s fourth generation fighter aircraft such as the F-14 Tomcat and the F-15 Eagle.

The incident is the latest is a series of wargames and mid-air interceptions that highlight the inherently dangerous cat-and-mouse game played by the major superpowers on contested airspace.

There has been a significant buildup of American and NATO forces across countries bordering with Russia in recent times, amidst heightened international tensions concerning North Korea, Syria, and their allies.