for Rafale
4 lives saved using a F16F ejection seat Over 200 F16F ejection seats in service

New generation lightweight fighter aircraft, such as the Dassault Rafale, demand significant weight reduction for all their subsystems in order to achieve a lower aircraft total mass. The Mk16 ejection seat achieves its remarkably light weight by combining the twin catapult outer cylinder tubes as both propulsion system and as the seat's primary structure. The Mk16 ejection seat design optimises pilot field of view, improves comfort and pilot efficiency.

Reliability and maintainability have been key elements in the design, resulting in an escape system that has full component accessibility in the cockpit. Modular construction enables the seat to be safely removed or installed in minutes without removing the aircraft cockpit canopy. These and other design features will ensure that the Mk16 generation of ejection seat succeeds the Martin-Baker Mk10 as the world's most popular escape system.

Operating Ceiling 65,000ft (19,812m)
Minimum height/Speed Zero/zero in near level attitude
Crew boarding mass range 63.5 to 106.0 kg
Crew size range French Air Force specific crew size range, 3 - 98 percentile of estimated French pilot range in year 2015
Maximum Speed for ejection 625 KEAS
Parachute type GQ Type 5000
Parachute deployment Cartridge initiated
Drogue parachute Yes
Drogue deployment Cartridge initiated
Aerosurface deployment system Yes, gas operated
Harness type Combined
Ejection seat operation type Ejection guns and underseat rocket motor, Lateral thrust rocket motor (twin seat only)
Ejection gun Twin
Ejection initiation Handle on seat bucket initiates gas operated seat firing system
Automatic back-up unit No, manual override available
Manual sequencer Mechanical mode selector, used in combination with barostatic time-release unit
Barostatic time-release unit Yes + g-restrictor, cartridge initiated
Timers Drogue deployment unit timer
Seat adjustment Up/down actuator operated 28 Vdc
Arm restraints Yes
Leg restraints Passive leg restraint system
Oxygen supply Connection to On Board Oxygen Generating System (OBOGS), Emergency oxygen cylinder
NBC equipment Nuclear, biological and chemical (NBC) ventilator
Personal survival pack (PSP) Yes + automatic deployment and liferaft inflation
Aircrew services Aircrew services package, interface for:
- breathing gas
- NBC ventilation supply
- mic/tel
- helmet mounted display system interface
Command ejection Yes
Canopy jettison No
Canopy fracturing system Yes, Canopy pyrotechnic cutting system
Interseat Sequencing System (ISS) Yes, via mode selector
  • Rafale
  • Seat firing handle pulled, centrale initiates Rigid Hermetic Transmission Chain (RHTC)
  • Command firing initiated
  • Harness power retraction unit retracts shoulder straps
  • Canopy fractured by canopy pyrotechnic cutting system
  • Primary cartridge fires, bottom latches engage, top latches disengage seat rises up rails
  • Aircraft services disconnected
  • Emergency oxygen supplied to aircrew
  • Legs and arms restrained
  • IFF tripped
  • Secondary cartridges fire as seat rises
  • Multi-purpose initiators fire
  • Mechanical Mode Selector (MMS), Barostatic Time-Release Unit (BTRU) and Drogue Deployment Unit Timer (DDUT) sears tripped
  • Underseat and lateral rocket motors fire
  • Leg restraint lines become taut and rivets shear, freeing lines from floor brackets
  • Aerodynamic surfaces deploy
  • Drogue deployment unit fires after delay
  • Time delays initiated for MMS and BTRU
  • Manual Override (MOR) lock disengaged

Low speed, low altitude mode

  • MMS senses mode, fires primary circuit
  • Drogue canister deployed, pulls bridle clear
  • Upper and lower bridle locks released

Intermediate mode

  • MMS inhibited above 7500ft (2286m)
  • Drogue stabilises and decelerates seat

High speed, low altitude mode

  • MMS inhibited above 260 KEAS or 4 G
  • Drogue stabilises and decelerates seat
  • BTRU runs out firing primary circuit

High altitude mode

  • Drogue stabilises and decelerates seat
  • Emergency oxygen supply continued
  • Drogue releases at barostate altitude of 16400ft (5000m)
  • Headbox deployment initiated
  • Upper harness locks release
  • Man portion PEC release
  • Arm and leg restraint lines cut
  • Lower harness locks release after delay
  • Parachute inflates
  • Auxiliary drogue pulls headbox clear
  • Personal locator beacon activated
  • Personal Survival Pack (PSP) retained
  • Aircrew descends on parachute
  • PSP automatically lowered after delay
  • Liferaft automatically inflates
We won't spam you or share your personal details