The Navy this week awarded Boeing a $17 million contract for the nascent steps of developing a new system the service hopes will help prevent F/A-18 pilots from having physiological episodes.
"This order procures non-recurring engineering support to design, develop, validate and verify the Cabin Pressure and On-Board Oxygen Generation System Monitoring System (CPOMS) kit," according to a Sept. 30 Defense Department statement.
"In addition, this order provides validation installs and the production and delivery of 112 CPOMS kits for the Navy," the statement continued.
CPOMS is "a new digital cabin pressure altimeter with the capability to gather and record data for the cabin altitude, cabin pressure schedule, [Onboard Oxygen Generation System (OBOGS)] partial oxygen pressure, and OBOGS concentrator outlet pressure," according to a Jan. 24 report signed by Navy acquisition executive Hondo Geurts.
That report was sent to Congress in response to a Fiscal Year 2019 National Defense Authorization Act requirement for the Navy secretary to update lawmakers on the status of F/A-18 modifications designed to combat physiological episodes.
The service plans to outfit more than 1,000 Hornets and Super Hornets with CPOMS and other subsystems to combat PEs, which Geurts has acknowledged will not be fixed by a "simple mechanical solution."
"Human physiology under changing pressure is not well understood; further studies are being pursued to better inform physiological monitoring algorithms," he wrote in the report.