Dubai: BAE Systems has completed Design Verification Testing for the crew escape system for the Short Take Off and Vertical Landing (STOVL) variant of the F-35 Lighting II.
This series of tests has provided important risk reduction on the escape system to make sure F-35 pilots can eject safely and is an important milestone in the path to first flight of the first STOVL aircraft in Spring 2008.
BAE Systems F-35 Lightning II Crew Escape IPT leader John Thornton said: “We had some significant technical challenges to overcome in the design of the escape system, including providing enhanced neck-load protection during ejection. This is required because the F-35’s state of the art helmet is heavier and has a bigger frontal area to accommodate the visor mounted display. In addition, we also have the challenge of designing a system that can accommodate various sizes of pilot. The F-35 ejection seat is already a design classic. It is the most sophisticated and capable seat in the Western world – and it’s still in development.”
Manufactured by Martin Baker Aircraft Co, the ejection seat is an important part of the overall crew escape system and the new F-35 series ejection seat is a benchmark in design and technology.
The three variants of the F-35 Lightning II are being developed to meet the different performance requirements of the US and UK armed forces. The Carrier Variant (CV) is being designed for the US Navy and must cope with the demands of the catapult launches and arrested landings on the large US aircraft carriers. The Conventional Take Off and Landing (CTOL) variant will meet the needs of the US Air Force. Finally the Short Take Off and Vertical Landing (STOVL) variant is being developed to meet the operational requirements of the US Marine Corp and the UK.
BAE Systems is responsible for the design and delivery of the aft fuselage and empennage (tails and fins) for each F-35 variant, as well as key areas of the vehicle and weapon systems, in particular the fuel system, crew escape, life support system and prognostics health management integration. The Company also has significant work share in autonomic logistics, primarily on the support system side, and is involved in the Integrated Test Force, including the systems flight test and mission systems.
BAE Systems is the premier global defence and aerospace company delivering a full range of products and services for air, land and naval forces, as well as advanced electronics, information technology solutions and customer support services. With 96,000 employees worldwide, BAE Systems' sales exceeded £15 billion (US $27 billion) in 2006.