Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Mississippi) has said the U.S. Navy will install new oxygen-level monitoring systems on all T-45 naval training jets by February as part of efforts to address issues with the aircraft’s oxygen systems.
Wicker, chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Seapower, said in a press release published Wednesday that the Navy is also building an automatic backup oxygen system that will be integrated across the T-45 fleet.
Pilots flying T-45 planes have experienced physiological episodes such as oxygen loss, cockpit decompression and contaminated oxygen inhalation.
The Navy has stopped operations of T-45s that lack the full suite of upgrades, according to Wicker.
President Donald Trump approved Wicker’s proposed legislation to help the military investigate the cause of the safety issues.
The bill allows the defense secretary to offer a $10 million prize to members of the academia and industry that can help identify the root cause of the physiological episodes.
Officials initially believed that contaminated oxygen was the major cause of the episodes, but tests showed that inadequate air flow is the biggest contributing factor, the release noted.