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Boeing contracted for T-45 backup oxygen systems

The $12 million contract is a move toward fixing oxygen delivery systems after hypoxia episodes led to the grounding of several aircraft last year.

By
Stephen Carlson
The U.S. Navy's T-45 Goshawk training aircraft were grounded last year after pilots complained of hypoxia episodes that have been blamed on oxygen delivery systems, though no specific resolution has been found. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Air Force
The U.S. Navy's T-45 Goshawk training aircraft were grounded last year after pilots complained of hypoxia episodes that have been blamed on oxygen delivery systems, though no specific resolution has been found. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Air Force

July 24 (UPI) -- Boeing has received a $12 million contract for automatic backup oxygen systems in the T-45 training aircraft, which had problems with its oxygen system last year.

The order, announced Monday by the Department of Defense, provides for engineering and other support services for the development and production of Automatic Backup Oxygen systems for the T-45 aircraft.

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Physiological episodes, which include hypoxia from oxygen deprivation, have become a serious issue with Naval and Air Force aviation. The problem has affected T-45s, F/A-18s, F-22s and F-35s, and the Department of Defense has established a specific command to study and resolve the issue.

The Navy has grappled with oxygen system issues that have led to multiple groundings of aircraft, including the T-45 and F/A-18E/F Super Hornets. The Navy is still investigating the cause of the problems, but firm answers on the issue have been elusive.

The T-45 Goshawk is a tandem-seat training jet capable of aircraft carrier operations. It is a U.S. Navy version of the British Aerospace Hawk and is used by both the Navy and Marine Corps for pilot training. Variants of the aircraft have been in use since 1991.

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Work on the new order will be performed in St. Louis, Mo., and is expected to be completed by August 2019. Navy fiscal 2016 aircraft procurement funds in the amount of $12.2 million have been obligated at time of award, with the funding expiring at the end of the current fiscal year, the Pentagon said.

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