Martin-Baker, the world’s leading supplier of ejection seats and crashworthy seats, is showcasing the Mk18 and F16F ejection seats at the ongoing Paris Air Show.
The Mk18 ejection seat has been selected for the Republic of Koreas Air Force’s new fighter, KF-X. The Mk18 includes a neck protection feature – an inflatable device on the headrest that is activated on ejection – to prevent neck injuries. It also has a passive arm restraint, in addition to passive leg restraint, for added safety. Martin Baker and Korea Aerospace Industries have a longstanding relationship, having earlier collaborated for the KT-1 and the T/A-50.
The lightweight F16F, which combines the twin catapult outer cylinder tubes as both the propulsion system and as the seat’s primary structure, is the ejection seat for Rafale fighter aircraft.
“The Mk18 is a further development from the Mk16 family,” said Harrison Smith, Martin-Baker Exhibitions Coordinator. “There are many different variants of Mk16; all of them are quite advanced. The Mk18 takes that one step further. The neck protection device keeps the pilot’s neck safe. With the amount of technology that is now in pilot helmets, the weight increases. The load on the neck of the pilot is thus always increasing. It is very important to keep that part of the pilot safe during ejection.”
The company’s ejection seats have saved 7607 lives so far, said Smith. “It is quite an impressive number and we are very proud of that. 2019 is our 70th anniversary since the first life saved.”
Among the other seats on display are the US16E, the ejection seat for the joint strike fighter, the US16T, the ejection seat program upgrade for T-38 and F-5, and the ultra-lightweight Mk17.