Lockheed Martin launches Twitter offensive to defend maligned fighter jets
May 7th, 2012
10:22 AM ET

Lockheed Martin launches Twitter offensive to defend maligned fighter jets

Lockheed Martin has launched an offensive to combat complaints from pilots who have refused to fly its F-22s over concerns about oxygen deprivation while in the cockpit.

The company took its campaign to the skies - er, Twitter - to try to combat growing negative publicity about its Raptors.

The Air Force has been looking into about a dozen unexplained incidents related to hypoxia, or oxygen deficiency, with pilots but has been unable to pinpoint the cause, Air Combat Command has said.

Some pilots have come forward to say they won't get in the F-22s until the problem is solved.

Pilots began experiencing problems about four years ago.

“For some reason, the onboard oxygen generating system and the environmental control system that feeds it may be inputting some contaminant,” Gen. Gregory Martin, a retired Air Force veteran, told CNN affiliate WAVY in Virginia.

For a while, the problem was the subject of only a spattering of media reports, but Lockheed Martin went on the offensive (or defensive, depending whom you ask) by launching a Twitter campaign praising the fleet as "60 Minutes" aired a segment on the problems with the Raptors and interviewed decorated pilots who were refusing to fly them.

Gen. Mike Hostage of Air Combat Command recently spoke about the issue, which has plagued the fleet since problems with the F-22s' oxygen supply system were reported in 2008.

The jets have been grounded to examine the problem, but in September 2011, the Raptors were again cleared and allowed to fly. In January 2011, the jets were limited to altitudes under 25,000 feet during an investigation into a November 2010 crash. Flying above that altitude could cause a pilot to black out from lack of oxygen and lose control.

The Air Force has made sure to add emergency oxygen deployment handles should a pilot encounter any issues.

"We are diligently pursuing a variety of hypotheses to try and understand and characterize the exact circumstances we've been experiencing," Hostage said.

As the "60 Minutes" feature aired, Lockheed Martin tweeted about the impressive speeds and missions that no other planes but the F-22s were able to claim. But it also got a few pithy responses to the public relations campaign.

[tweet https://twitter.com/ThatDamonGuy/status/199300900014129152%5D

[tweet https://twitter.com/markinzeroland/status/199318969138679808%5D

soundoff (201 Responses)
  1. VBD

    Rather than buy ONE F-22, I would have bought 100,000 little single engine planes, installed remote control and swarmed the enemy. With our supposed huge budget issues, this seems like a great place to tsart cutting.

    May 7, 2012 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Not All Docs Play Golf

    It seems that after the Bush/Cheney administration, we should have changed the name back from the newer "Departmnent of Defense" to it's orininal name, the "War Department."

    May 7, 2012 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
  3. neutraltenn

    I worked for them before and, in my opinion, there has never been a more incompetent outfit than Lockheed Martin.

    If they designed and built these planes, I believe them to be sub-standard.

    May 7, 2012 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • jj

      Let me guess they fired you so now u speak negatively about one of the most successful companies in the world..

      May 7, 2012 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • jmpgfoto

      By the way, both the F-35 and F-22 are way over budget in addition to having design flaws which make them unusable in some situations and dangerous in others. The f-22 should be the most advanced fighter craft in the world considering its astronomical cost. Depending on sources the cost of the F-22 is about $400,000,000 and the F-35 could be as high as $600 million so it seems that a lot of money is being spent on units that do not function correctly! Some U.S. allies are backing away from purchases because of the cost being much higher than originally quoted.

      May 7, 2012 at 4:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • neutraltenn

      Shows how much you know d**head JJ. I still work in the same job.

      May 7, 2012 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Ryder

    Exactly how does a $400 million fighter jet factor into anti-terrorism?

    May 7, 2012 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • HeyZeus

      150 million.. Which is still FAR too expensive. We should be getting refunds on all the planes that crashed with pilots in them.

      May 7, 2012 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • TheThinker

      How will the pilot fit into the refund?

      May 7, 2012 at 6:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Justsomeguy

      1 lockheed Martin executive for every lost pilot

      May 8, 2012 at 12:51 am | Report abuse |
    • David

      It wasnt designed for combatting terrorists. It was designed more for things like chasing and shooting down tankers, AWAC's planes, reconnaisance aircraft and enemy fighters. Its about denying the enemy access to airspace. The military has drones for attacking the cave dwellers.

      May 8, 2012 at 1:51 am | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      I think you are thinking of the cost of the F-35 who price keeps going up and up.

      May 9, 2012 at 2:39 am | Report abuse |
  5. jb

    This plane got honorable mention in the Avengers!!!

    May 7, 2012 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jon

      Those were F-35 Lighting II's

      May 7, 2012 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Richard Rogers

    To all you younglings, the F-16, F14, F-15, and F/A-18 ALL had problems. Some of these problems killed a pilot or two.

    May 7, 2012 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • HeyZeus

      Yes, all of these planes had problems and SOME of them killed people, but not EVERY plane killed .. That is what we are talking about. a platform wide error that will kill every pilot that does not stay below 25, 000 ft, and stays below a certain airspeed. nuff said.

      May 7, 2012 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • stateschool

      Oxygen systems are part of the basics. At over 400 million dollars apiece, my niece should be able to bomb a snail in Afghanistan with this thing, and she shouldn't have any trouble breathing while she does it.

      May 7, 2012 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Akira

      true BUT unlike the Raptors no pilots ever refused to fly in them!

      May 7, 2012 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
  7. b

    lockheed martin a 1% er, doesn't care about the 99%

    May 7, 2012 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Yabaduu

    Yes. All planes arrive with glitches to work out. Who designs a system to take incoming air, channeled through the engines, treat it with chemicals and then feed it back to the pilot as pure O2 ? Sounds like fraking. just like the others, this one should be grounded before we kill someome else.

    May 7, 2012 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • AnonEngineer

      While the oxygen delivery method may sound sketchy... that's how it's done on all jet aircraft. Any contaminant in the air going into the engine, or anything released inside the engine into the main air flowpath upstream of the bleed point, gets breathed by those onboard the aircraft. If you ever notice a funny smell when you're taxiing around the airport in an airliner, that's probably the scent of aviation oil. It's from small amounts of oil leaking inside the engine and getting into the main airpath, which is then used to provide oxygen to the plane. Don't believe me? Just run searches on contaminated air, flight attendant headaches, breathing problems, etc.

      May 7, 2012 at 8:21 pm | Report abuse |
  9. B2UX

    LOOK THERE A CLEAR PROBLEM FIX IT DONT CRY AND TRY TO PROP UP SOMETHING THAT CLEARLY DOSENT WORK RIGHT TAKE THE PLAIN OFF THE MARKET PERIOD AND DONT USE IT UNTIL THEY CAN P[ROVE ITS FIXED THERE NOTORIOUS FOR DOING THIS KIND OF CRAP AND THEY NEED TO BE PUT IN THERE PLACE PILOTS SHOULDNT HAVE TO FIGURE OUT A PROBLEM JUST REPORT ON IT AND GET IT FIXED WHICH CLEARLY FRAUDHEED WILL HIDE AGAIN LIKE THE PROBLEM THEY HAVE HAD IN THE PAST JUST COVVER IT UP AND HIDE THE FACT PILOTS PASS OUT....

    May 7, 2012 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
  10. James

    The time has come to retire human airforce pilots. They cannot handle the extreme capabilities of modern aircraft and would rather gripe and complain rather than admit it.

    May 7, 2012 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • mark

      And by "extreme capabilities" you mean "lack of breathable oxygen". That's one hell of an euphamism...

      May 7, 2012 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
  11. charlie

    If we fighting terrorists, wouldn't Predators & A-10s be more effective than a F-22?

    May 7, 2012 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • WeAreNotReal

      You could get an entire squadron of A-10's for every F-22 that we did not buy. Makes too much sense to really happen, sorry...

      May 7, 2012 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Sam

    USAF pilots and certainly those qualified to drive Raptors would be one of the most highly trained and best pilots out there with big giant egos/cajones to boot. If someone like them refused to fly in it, then there is a SERIOUS problem!

    May 7, 2012 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
  13. WeAreNotReal

    This happens on commerical airlines on occation called a "fume event" burring turbine oil get sucked into the air intake, nasty stuff. Guess the raptor has more chemicals to clean it, does not sound like a breath of fresh air.

    Rip out the old system and replace it with a scuba re-breather. Probably loose a few hundered pounds in the process, there I just solved the propblem, can I have some money?

    May 7, 2012 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
  14. MightyMoo

    Dear Lockheed,
    Instead of going to Twitter to fix your planes how about actually going to the planes to fix them? I mean the effort you put in to to sell your jets to the public could be better spent fixing the oxygen issue so the pilots could actually fly them safely and the planes will sell themselves when they actually work properly.

    Signed,
    A Tax Payer

    May 7, 2012 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
  15. jmpgfoto

    According to records 18% of pilots reported hypoxia problems with the F-22 Raptor which is unacceptable. Supposed they lose control over a neighborhood and crash. They carry thousands of pounds of fuel and that would incinerate everythings. Also, the f-35 Lighting II has problems. The model designed to be used by Marines and Navy to operate on aircraft carriers has a design flaw which makes it impossible for the aircraft to land on carriers since it cannot catch the cables on the deck so that makes it unusable for its purpose. It is said the placement of the tailhook is the problem and there is no easy fix since placement of the hook is a park of the basic design. Makes me wonder if Lockeed Martin can do anything right! I am near Plant 42 and Edwards AFB and see the F-35s flying over every day and these problems with F-22/35 make me wonder how long before there is a major failure with serious injury and death to pilots and civilians.

    May 7, 2012 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
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