Brazil’s modernized F-5 fighter jets will need repairs to the oxygen generation system for the pilots

Company that maintained the system’s oxygen concentrator suspended service in early 2020. Brazilian government seeks an alternative to keep aircraft available in the future

The Brazilian Air Force (FAB) faces an unforeseen situation to keep the F-5M Tiger II fighters active. The aircraft produced by Northrop in the 70’s was updated long ago to receive new equipment and systems, including the OBOGS (On-Board Oxygen Generating System), which generates the oxygen necessary for the pilot’s survival.

However, according to an Air Force document, a part of the system, which involves the oxygen concentrator, needs repairs so that the fighter fleet is not unavailable in the future.

The equipment supplier, the company Cobham Mission Systems Davenport, which had been maintaining it since 2016, stopped serving the Brazilian Air Force in early 2020.

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The situation, as described by the Air Force, is quite worrying as the F-5M has a unique oxygen generation system on board the cockpit.

The FAB intends to hire another company capable of carrying out the repair and replacement of parts of the equipment and is expected to spend $280,000 to recover 10 oxygen concentrators.

“Other military aircraft from other air forces in the world have a system similar to the one used in the FAB’s F5-M aircraft, but they are not the same used in it”, says a term of reference of the bidding.

Northrop F-5M (FAB)

The term for the service to be completed is approximately 15 months. The Air Force also emphasizes that the work will have to be done at once, since the “installation can result in the unavailability of the fleet of F5-M aircraft, due to the lack of an item that is critical for this aircraft, which is the oxygen for the pilot”.

The installation of the OBOGS system was carried out by Embraer, which was responsible for the modernization of the old fighters.

Also according to the Air Force, the execution of the service “will complete another cycle of annual operation of the fleet of F5-M from the FAB, guaranteeing the availability of the fleet”.