NAVAIR T-45 Goshawk jet trainers will be upgraded with new oxygen concentrators. (Cobham)
The U.S. Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) awarded a contract to Cobham Mission Systems for the supply of new GGU-25 oxygen smart concentrators that will be part of a fleet-wide systems upgrade for T-45 Goshawk jet trainers, the company announced in a March 9 press release.
The GGU-25 is an upgraded version of Cobham’s GGU-7 concentrator and works as part of the pilot life support system by supplying oxygen-enriched breathing gas to the pilot mask through a regulator, Asif Ahmed, business development manager at Cobham, told Avionics International in an email.
“We have advanced our oxygen concentrator technologies and design standards significantly in the last decade to further support the warfighter and ensure critical operational data is monitored in real-time,” Jason Apelquist, SVP of business development and strategy at Cobham Mission Systems, said in a statement. “We’re excited to be delivering our GGU-25 to this fleet. It is an upgraded version of GGU-7, our legacy product on the T-45. This will ensure that Navy pilots in training are provided an environment for adequate breathing under all conditions.”
The GGU-25 is an upgraded version of Cobham’s GGU-7 and works as part of the pilot life support system by supplying oxygen-enriched breathing gas to the pilot mask through a regulator. (Cobham)
The system will also monitor and record data onboard the aircraft during training flights, Ahmed said. This data can be given to the pilot during flight or be analyzed post-flight. The data could be used to troubleshoot unexplained physiological episodes (UPEs) during flight.
UPEs, are abnormal human physiological conditions that can cause pilots across different types of aircraft to experience blood flow, oxygen or fatigue-based symptoms connected to a range of possible conditions, such as hypoxia (oxygen deficiency to the brain), hypocapnia (reduced carbon dioxide in the blood), hypercapnia (elevated carbon dioxide in the blood) or G-LOC (gravity-induced loss of consciousness).
Using new methods and technologies to reduce the number of UPEs experienced by military pilots across a variety of fighter jets, helicopters and special mission aircraft has been a major focus across various U.S. military branches in recent years. On Dec. 1, a 60-page report published by the National Commission on Military Aviation Safety analyzed the causes of UPEs as well as past efforts and data collection and reporting methods on past problems.
The report found that U.S. Navy pilots experienced a continuous increase in UPEs between 2014-2018.
Cobham’s GGU-25 technology is also used in its SureSTREAM concentrator for other aircraft systems.
“The technology used in GGU-25 is the same technology used in Cobham’s SureSTREAM concentrator which has been qualified and fielded on one aircraft platform to date,” Ahmed said. “SureSTREAM is currently being qualified for a number of additional aircraft platforms in development and will enter widespread service in the next few years.”