The US Air Force started a market assessment to identify potential sources for its Next Generation Ejection Seat.
The service is looking for a modern ejection seat replacement to be installed in a variety of aircraft, including the Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II, McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle, Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon, F-22 Raptor and Rockwell B-1 Lancer, it says in an online announcement. The competition has not yet been officially opened and the USAF did not announce a date when it would start accepting bids.
Likely bidders for the forthcoming competition include Martin-Baker and Collins Aerospace, two of the US military’s leading suppliers of ejection seats.
The USAF wants a seat that can safely handle ejecting a pilot with a weight range of 62.6kg (138lb) to 153kg (337lb). Total weight includes aircrew nude weight, aircrew flight equipment weight and survival kit weight.
The USAF’s requirements specifies the seat should be able to eject at speeds up to 600kt (1,111km/h) and at altitudes from 0ft to 60,000ft. The recovery parachute’s vertical descent velocity should not exceed 1,380ft/min (7.01m/s), and should be steerable to a minimum turn rate of 20°/s.