Successful F-35 Tests Confirm Expertise in Ejection Seat Parachute Systems

Airborne Systems, a world leader in the design, development and manufacture of military parachute and aerial delivery systems, continues to demonstrate its expertise in the development of exceptional Ejection Seat parachute systems, with the recent completion of the final ejection tests for the US16E Ejection Seat. The US16E Ejection Seat has been designed by Martin-Baker for the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) aircraft. Martin-Baker has worked with Airborne Systems companies for more than 60 years from the advent of the first autonomous ejection system developed in 1951. The US16E Ejection Seat contains several parachutes designed by Airborne Systems Europe at Llangeinor which have been certified for flight release after a series of rigorous parachute and ejection tests conducted by Martin-Baker. The escape system ensures aircrew can eject safely in an emergency situation however extreme and will be fitted to all 3000-plus F-35 aircraft which will be flown by armed forces across the globe. The US16E Ejection Seat is qualified from 0 knots at 0 altitude (stationary aircraft on ground) to 600 knots at 50,000ft, with the widest possible pilot nude weight range (103lbs to 245lbs). This enormous range of conditions is accommodated by the flexibility afforded by the proprietary designs of the conical ribbon drogue parachute and the Aeroconical(r) main ejection seat parachutes. The Martin-Baker US16E Ejection Seat is initially stabilised after ejection by a reefed conical ribbon drogue. The inflation characteristics of the drogue parachute reduce the effect of the deceleration on the seat and pilot. After separation from the seat, the pilot is saved by the Airborne Systems Type 6000 main occupant recovery parachute - one of the parachutes of the Aeroconical(r) family. The Type 6000 main parachute is packed into a parachute container which is ballistically deployed from the seat. The parachute container is also equipped with an Airborne Systems auxiliary parachute which controls its flight trajectory in order to provide clearance with the pilot during inflation of the Type 6000 main parachute. The system has been tested to its limits from a full scale test forebody of the aircraft, complete with ejection seat and mannequin at launch speeds in excess of 600 mph down the Martin-Baker test track. More than 30 ejection seat tests have been completed with the production configuration in the UK, France and in the US. Dr. Adrian Jones, Airborne Systems Europe Technical Director, said: "We are delighted to see that the F-35 US16E Ejection Seat system has completed its full certification prior to implementation into the aircraft production and that Llangeinor's expertise in applying the highest technology in parachute industry will continue to save pilots' lives in all emergency situations."

Source: Airborne Systems
Date: May 19, 2011