F-35 Lightning II (CTOL) fighter jet

F-35 undergoes 600mph ejector seat trials

The new F-35 stealth fighter jet has successfully completed final tests on its ejector system on a high-speed track.

Engineers led by BAE Systems carried out rigorous tests on the F-35 Lightning II combat aircraft at speeds of up to 600mph.

The F-35 is set to replace the Harrier jet and its ejector system will be fitted to all 3,000+ F-35 aircraft which will be flown by armed forces across the world including the US Navy, Air Force and Marine Corp.  

“Ejecting from an aircraft like F-35 typically takes no more than three seconds from the time the ejection handle is pulled to the pilot being on a parachute," said BAE Systems’ test manager Rick Whittaker.

"Incredibly, during the tests up to 900,000 measurements were recorded every second and I am pleased to say the systems performed really well."

More than 30 ejection seat tests have been completed in the UK, France and the USA, with the final test taking place at Martin Baker’s facility at Chalgrove Airfield in Oxfordshire.

"It’s a major achievement," said Chris Garside, BAE Systems’ chief engineer on the F-35 programme. 

Further reading:

See a video of the F-35 ejector seat trials

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