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Lockheed Martin Corp has been awarded a $19 million contract from the US Air force to help with the installation of 40 F-22 fight aircraft with an automatic backup supply of oxygen after some pilots had commented on experiencing on oxygen deprivation when flying the supersonic plane.
The contract includes re working on 10 spare aircraft and will run through to April, 2013.
The F-22 was grounded for five months last years due to worries over the safety of the aircraft, which the Pentagon last month announced new safety precautions for. The Pentagon also said that if necessary, it would not rule out grounding the F-22 again.
Concern over the jet's safety flared last month after CBS's "60 Minutes" news program reported that two pilots said they had stopped flying the fighter due to safety concerns.
In a report accompanying its fiscal 2013 defence spending bill, the committee said the Navy reported 64 incidents and two deaths due to similar problems with F/A-18 fighter planes built by Boeing Co from 2002 to 2009, but ultimately resolved the problem.
The Air Force has documented 11 incidents of hypoxia-like symptoms in 10,000 F-22 flights, or about 0.1 percent, since the plans resumed flying in late 2011.
The Senate committee report directed the secretary of the Air Force to explain, no later than 90 days after enactment of the bill, how the service had implemented or would implement recommendations made by its scientific advisory board.
It also said it would view "as unacceptable any act of retaliation against any F-22A Raptor pilot who raises concerns about the safety of this aircraft or declines to fly it on that basis."
For more information on Lockheed Martin, see the latest research: Lockheed Martin Market Research
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