HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) - It's been called the 21st century fighter, but the U.S. Air Force's newest jet, the F-22 Raptor, is no longer flying.
Langley Air Force Base has two Raptor Squadrons and is home to the First Fighter Wing.
That wing welcomed a new Commanding Officer, Col. Kevin Robbins, on Monday.
"The mission that we have here overlaps perfectly with the mission of the Air Force. We fly, we fight, we win," said Robbins.
But Robbins assumes command at a time when the flight line at Langley Air Force Base is for the most part quiet. That's because the military grounded the F-22 Raptor due to problems with the aircraft's oxygen generating system.
Robbins talked about the impact the plane's grounding might have on the readiness of the1st Fighter Wing to respond to the nation's calling.
"Any halt in flying would hurt readiness eventually but not at this point," said Robbins. "Just coming back from Afghanistan and on day one of the job, this is being taken care of on levels above where I'm at," said Robbins.
The Air Combat Command (ACC) division of the Air Force is investigating problems with the Raptor, but ACC personnel at Langley have refused all requests for on-camera interviews about the subject. Instead, they released a short statement on the decision to ground the F-22 saying, "The stand-down is a prudent measure following reports of potential oxygen system malfunctions."
The stand-down is designed to ensure the safety of the flight crews while the investigation continues.
The Air Force has not said how long the planes will be grounded.
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