Commander Air Combat Group Air Commodore Tim Alsop recently paid a visit to the Martin Baker Australia ejection seat maintenance facility, providing oversight of the facility accountable for the assessment, refurbishment and overhaul of Air Force fast-jet ejection seats.
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Based at the Williamtown Aerospace Centre, the facility began conducting the first routine service of seats from the F-35A Lightning II. The model uses the US16E Ejection Seat, a further development of the Mk16 range that has already been fitted to the T-6 Texan II, Eurofighter Typhoon, NASA T-38N and USAF T-38 upgrade programs and other numerous aircraft platforms around the world.
Martin Baker said that it strikes a balance between key performance factors to meet US government defined criteria, including safe terrain clearance limits, physiological loading limits, pilot boarding mass and anthropometric accommodation.
AIRCDRE Alsop said he appreciated the behind-the-scenes tour of the facility, which played a big part in maintaining critical safety equipment fitted to ACG aircraft.
“We have Martin Baker ejection seats in all of the aircraft flown by ACG personnel,” AIRCDRE Alsop said, adding that the convenience of having such a critical support facility located so close to one of the ADF's largest fast-jet bases.
Located in the heart of the Hunter region of NSW, the Williamtown Aerospace Centre co-locates a number of critical aviation enterprises including Martin Baker, which combine to support the current and emerging needs of Defence and the broader local aviation industry.
“Nothing we do in the Air Force is in isolation. It is our industry partners, often operating in the background, that ensure we are able to achieve our mission,” he said.
AIRCDRE Alsop also said that while no pilot began their work day expecting to eject from an aircraft, having confidence in the functionality of the ejection seat system brought great peace of mind.
“We rely on the vigilance and experience of the teams that maintain the system to ensure we go home to our families each day,” he said.