BOEING HAS completed safety-of-flight testing on the life-support system for the Lockheed Martin/Boeing F-22, due to be flown in mid-June. The system includes the "integrated ensemble" of clothing to be worn by pilots during flight testing of the F-22.

The US Air Force says the ensemble is the only system able "-to provide the physiological protection necessary for the pilot to exploit fully the F-22 capabilities and mission". It will be used during development testing, but the USAF has yet to decide whether to buy it for production F-22s.

The garment allows the pilot to withstand high accelerations for longer, and provides protection at high altitudes and during high-speed ejections.

Helmet Integrated Systems of the UK supplies the head-mounted equipment, including a lightweight helmet which reduces neck forces by 20% during high-speed ejections. Boeing says that pilots will be protected at ejection speeds up to 600kt (1,100km/h), compared with 450kt for current systems.

META research of British Columbia and Delaware-based ILCD over provide the pilot garments, and the UK's Normalair Garrett supplies the on-board oxygen-generating and breathing-regulator/anti-g systems, with hoses from California-based Parker Symmetrics.

Source: Flight International