Several times now, the Blaze has reported on the hypoxia-like conditions seen in F-22 Raptors that have caused pilots to blackout, become disoriented and even have seizures. No one could figure out exactly what was causing this. Now, an F-16 co-designer thinks he knows what the cause could be: toxic glue.
The F-22 -- a plane by Lockheed Martin with a unit cost of more than $400 million -- was grounded for several months because of the health conditions it was causing while pilots were in flight. More than two dozen incidents have been reported. Two pilots even publicly refused for a time to fly the planes, citing not remembering some events that happened while they were flying due to disorientation.
According to the Panama City News Herald, Pierre Sprey who helped develop A-10 and F-16 jets said chemicals in the glue holding the "skin" of the F-22 are to blame:
According to Sprey, the Air Force has overlooked, or ignored, the potential stealth skin problems because it has not been able to test successfully for adhesive toxins in the pilot’s bloodstream. He said the Air Force doesn’t talk about the stealth adhesives because the chemical makeup of the compounds that make up the stealth skin are considered “classified information.”
The Air Force confirmed the stealth adhesive compound used in the F-22 is classified material and exclusive to the F-22, but it has downplayed Sprey’s accusations, saying the adhesives were included in a recent investigation into problems impacting F-22 pilots.
“We are aware of the theory regarding stealth coatings and other chemicals used in the production and maintenance of the F-22, and that has been rolled into our analysis,” said Heidi Davis, an Air Force spokeswoman.
Still, Sprey presses on with his theory, saying the government doesn't want to reveal details of the glue, because it could result in a significant redesign on the already expensive stealth plane.
“The F-22 and the F-35 are three-fourths of the Air Force budget, and that is what is at stake,” he said to the News Herald.
Davis said that tests revealed a lack of toxins in the cockpit, air system and pilot's blood, helping negate Sprey's claim. Sprey, who left working for the Pentagon in the 1970s to work in the Johnson and Nixon administrations, said the chemical in the polyurethane he believes was used on the plane becomes released when it hits Mach 1.6 speeds. The News Herald also reports the Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry noting these types of chemicals react with the body quickly and could potentially be out of the pilots' system before testing even took place.
The News Herald also includes the perspective of the firm Bauman Rasor Group, which investigates federal fraud. Dina Rasor explained that she believes the military could be protecting Lockheed Martin as their relationship is "almost as if they were married." She also said the mentality with the military over the F-22 is similar to the "circle the wagons" defense tactic.
Read even more specifics on this toxic glue theory in the News Herald here.