The Air Force determined in 2010 that its combat pilots needed better ejection seats for coping with on-board emergencies. Heavier headgear was increasing the neck and head stress associated with ejections, while an increasingly diverse population of cockpit occupants didn’t always fit so well into legacy ejection seats. Today, the Air Force is finally prepared to conduct qualification testing for a next-gen ejection seat, but the effort is underfunded. If it is to be ready to commence production and installation of improved seats in the early 2020s, the Air Force will need $16 million over two years to get to a contract award. It’s an effort that definitely deserves to be fully funded by Congress. I have written a commentary for Forbes here.
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