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RAF resumes Eurofighter operations after ejection seat fix

The UK Royal Air Force has cleared its Eurofighter Typhoons to resume normal operations, after approving an urgent safety modification for the type’s Martin-Baker Mk16A ejection seat.

An investigation into the death of a Royal Saudi Air Force pilot who was killed after ejecting from a Eurofighter at Morón air base in Spain on 24 August identified a fault with the seat’s harness. This led to operations being restricted in the UK and other user nations, which include Austria, Germany, Italy, Saudi Arabia and Spain.

“Due to excellent cooperation between Qinetiq, BAE Systems and Martin-Baker, sufficient modifications have been undertaken to allow a resumption of routine flying,” the RAF says.

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The UK had stopped its Typhoons from flying all but essential missions from 15 September. However, the restrictions excluded aircraft assigned to provide quick reaction alert cover for the southern UK and the Falkland Islands. These were given a trial modification pending the result of trials conducted over the weekend.

The RAF also earlier this year temporarily suspended training operations with its BAE Hawk T1/1A trainers, after a ground inspection revealed cracks in the structure of a Martin-Baker Mk10B ejection seat. The fleet resumed activities in early August.

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