Events Calendar 2016

Exhibition Location Date
AFA Air & Space Washington DC 19-21 September 2016
Japan Aerospace Tokyo 12-15 October 2016
SAFE Association Ohio 31 Oct -2 Nov 2016


Martin-Baker Aircraft Co. Ltd (MBA) expressed confidence in the company’s F-35’s ejection seat based on recent ejection test results.

“There should be no question; we are totally committed to the success of all those who use Martin-Baker safety equipment,” said James Martin, Martin-Baker’s Co-Chief Executive. “We share our customer’s commitment to ensuring the F-35 ejection seat meets the government’s performance standards across the entire spectrum of requirements to protect the men and women who fly the Lightning II.”

Low speed ejection testing in 2015 revealed an increased risk of neck injury for lightweight pilots (under 136 lbs.) as a result of the combination of seat rotation during the ejection phase and a heavy helmet.

As a result, the military air worthiness authorities restricted pilots weighing less than 136 pounds from operating the aircraft while a solution was being developed, tested, validated and fielded. That solution is now two-thirds of the way through the testing program which is being conducted at Martin-Baker and the U.S. Air Force high speed test track at Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico.

The solution to mitigate aircrew safety risk was three-fold: The helmet would be lightened while Martin-Baker adjusted the software within the seat sequencer to reduce parachute loads. Additionally Martin-Baker introduced the head support panel between the parachute risers to prevent the pilot’s neck from extending too far back as the parachute deployed and inflated.

The F-35 Joint Program Office (JPO) is pleased thus far with the testing results. “We believe the current Martin-Baker US-16E ejection seat with proposed fixes will meet all F-35 requirements,” said Lt. Gen. Chris Bogdan, F-35 Program Executive Officer. “The seat will provide a safe escape envelope for pilots in excess of legacy aircraft.”

Since the introduction of these changes, Martin-Baker has carried out 14 ejection tests across the speed and manikin size range. Eight tests remain with the required fixes and the program is on track to be fully qualified later this year and expect the current weight restriction to be removed early next year.

US-16E High Altitude test from MB Gloster Meteor test aircraft

“Redesigns including a head support panel and a switch that sets the parachute opening sequence for lighter weight pilots, will begin delivery this November,” said Jeff Babione, Lockheed Martin’s executive vice president and general manager of the F-35 program.

“We’ve conducted 14 qualification tests with the redesigned seat and we have eight tests to go. We are confident that this ejection seat meets and exceeds the requirements as outlined by the U.S. military and the F-35 partner nations.”

In testimony to U.S. Congress earlier this year, the JPO and U.S. Air Force confirmed their plans to implement these lightweight pilot enhancements.

Notes to editors

To date, Martin-Baker ejection seats have ensured the safety of 7,497 pilots in 92 Air Forces around the world, of which 3,492 are U.S. Service-members.

Martin-Baker completed the ejection qualification program in December 2010 with the Rockwell-Collins Gen II HMD. The combination of the Gen II HMD and the US16E ejection seat met all requirements and specifications without any restrictions.

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