FARNBOROUGH, England, Nov. 14 (UPI) -- British company BAE Systems has finished Design Verification Testing for the crew escape system for F-35 STOVL variant.
The company said in a statement Monday it had finished DVT testing on the Short Take Off and Vertical Landing variant of the F-35 Lighting II combat aircraft.
"This series of tests has provided important risk reduction on the escape system to make sure F-35 pilots can eject safely and is an important milestone in the path to first flight of the first STOVL aircraft in spring 2008," the company said.
BAE Systems F-35 Lightning II Crew Escape IPT leader John Thornton said: "We had some significant technical challenges to overcome in the design of the escape system, including providing enhanced neck-load protection during ejection. This is required because the F-35's state of the art helmet is heavier and has a bigger frontal area to accommodate the visor mounted display."
"In addition, we also have the challenge of designing a system that can accommodate various sizes of pilot. The F-35 ejection seat is already a design classic. It is the most sophisticated and capable seat in the Western world -- and it's still in development," Thornton said.
"Manufactured by Martin Baker Aircraft Co, the ejection seat is an important part of the overall crew escape system and the new F-35 series ejection seat is a benchmark in design and technology," BAE Systems said.
"The three variants of the F-35 Lightning II are being developed to meet the different performance requirements of the U.S. and (British) armed forces," the company said.
"The Carrier Variant -- CV -- is being designed for the U.S. Navy and must cope with the demands of the catapult launches and arrested landings on the large U.S. aircraft carriers. The Conventional Take Off and Landing -- CTOL -- variant will meet the needs of the U.S. Air Force. Finally the Short Take Off and Vertical Landing -- STOVL -- variant is being developed to meet the operational requirements of the U.S. Marine Corp and (Britain)," it said.