Martin-Baker Seat Selected For New-Build Block 70 F-16s
DUBAI—Martin-Baker’s US18E ejection seat has been selected as the pilot escape system for new-build Block 70 F-16s.
The seat, a derivative of the company’s Mk. 18 escape system, was selected by Lockheed Martin as part of an open competition.
The installation of the seat on F-16 Block 70s for Foreign Military Sales customers is the first time the UK ejection seat manufacturer has had a seat installed on the ubiquitous single-engine fighter. The seat is due to enter production in 2023.
Four countries have signed up to purchase new-build Block 70 F-16C/Ds—Bahrain, Bulgaria, Morocco and Slovakia.
Until now, all other F-16s, apart from the prototype YF-16s, have been fitted with variants of the Collins Aerospace Advanced Concept Ejection Seat (ACES II).
Martin-Baker says the US18E seat replaces the ACES II without affecting cockpit or canopy systems and also features head and neck load protection through the use of a head support panel and neck protection device. Both systems are particularly important as more and more fighter aircraft adopt new helmet-mounted sights.
The seat also has been designed for different sized pilots including the so-called Case 1, described as the smallest pilots on an anthropometric scale.
Commenting on the selection, Steve Roberts, head of business development at Martin-Baker, said the company was “confident that the new US18E Ejection Seat offers new unprecedented life-saving capabilities” for the F-16 Block 70.
The Mk. 18 ejection seat also has been adopted for use on the indigenous Korea Aerospace Industries KF-21 Boraemae. Testing of the KF-21 seat, called the KR18A, will begin in early 2022.