As the Air Force’s flying community becomes more diverse and its headgear becomes heavier, the service is seeking to improve the protection provided to combat pilots by ejection seats. Ejection seats have saved hundreds of lives, but they subject the human body to unusual stresses that can cause severe injury. Pilots who are big or small are more likely to suffer serious injury, as are those wearing helmet-mounted displays. So the Air Force is developing a next-gen ejector seat that provides advanced safety features. However, it appears at least one of the prospective offerors from industry cannot meet more stringent safety standards established by the service, and it is trying to get the requirements relaxed. That could be bad news for tomorrow’s combat pilots. I have written a commentary for Forbes here.
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