Testing and Qualification

Martin-Baker has extensive in-house subsystem and full system test facilities approved to U.S. and N.A.T.O. military standards.

These facilities are separated into static, environmental and dynamic testing which include Human Engineering evaluation.

The Testing Department is a purpose-built facility, designed and equipped specifically to satisfy the company’s requirement for development, qualification and certification testing of ejection seats, crashworthy seats, and aircrew safety equipment. All of these facilities may be employed in the testing of explosive components and systems.

Martin-Baker has ISO9001 Quality Assurance registration, and the Environmental Test facility is also approved for conduct of CAA Certification Trials.

With a dedicated staff of experienced engineers and technicians, the capabilities include:

  • Temperature Conditioning
  • Temperature/Humidity/Altitude Cycling
  • Salt Fog
  • Shock testing
  • Vibration tests with temperature conditioning
  • Drop Tests
  • Tensile/Compressive Load Testing
  • Static Loads
  • Data Capture Systems

Dynamic Testing

As there is a requirement to test the compatibility of the ejection seat with an actual representative cockpit section, Martin-Baker has a designed and built special high-speed test facility.

A 6,000ft (1829 meters) long track which is straight within a tolerance of 0.010 ins (0.254mm) over 125ft (38.1 metres) was built at Langford Lodge, Ireland. This accuracy is essential to minimise horizontal and vertical vehicle loads when travelling at high speed.

The test fuselage is propelled by a solid rocket powered pusher sled which is coupled to the standard base on which the fuselage is mounted. The test speed is varied depending on the number of rockets fitted to the pusher. For high-speed tests, with large test fuselages, up to fifteen main motors will be used. These motors develop a combined thrust of 112800lbs for 2.25 seconds and accelerate the test vehicle to over 600knots. Smaller sustained motors then fire to maintain the selected ejection speed for approximately one second. During this cruise portion of the test, the ejection seat is electrically initiated by a track-side signal, the canopy removal and ejection being filmed by on-board and track-side cameras. Telemetry data is also sent from the seat and dummy to a recording station alongside the track.

This high speed test facility is UK, US and NATO approved, and has been used to qualify the escape systems of the: Panavia Tornado, Dassault/Dornier Alpha Jet, Dassault Mirage F1B, Grumman EA6B Prowler, Aermacchi 339, CASA 101 Aviojet, Lockheed Martin TF-104 Starfighter, IAI Kfir, IAI Lavi, SAAB Gripen and many others. This valuable facility is also used for ejection seat research using a specially fabricated test vehicle.

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