US Navy grounds aircraft over ejection seat issue

U.S. Navy photo

The United States Navy was forced to ground an undisclosed number of aircraft after discovering issues with some ejection seats. 

The Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR), in charge of supporting the Navy’s aircraft, weapons, and systems, announced on July 26, 2022, that it had discovered a production issue affecting Cartridge Actuated Devices (CAD) in some fixed-wing aircraft. This includes F/A-18 Hornet and Super Hornet fighters, E/A-18G Growler electronic warfare aircraft, both equipped with the Martin-Baker MK-14 ejection seat, as well as T-45 Goshawk and F-5 Tiger II jet trainers. 

“After being notified of potential defect by the vendor, Martin Baker, the team used validated radiography procedures to scan on-hand inventory to verify each item was properly manufactured before sending to the fleet to replace existing CADs,” NAVAIR said in a press release. “The CAD will be replaced at the aircraft’s assigned squadron and the aircraft will be inspected before its next flight.” 

On July 22, 2022, the British Royal Air Force and the German Luftwaffe also reported an undisclosed issue affecting the ejection seats of their aircraft. British and German Eurofighter Typhoons, German Panavia Tornadoes, and the BAE Systems Hawk T1 flown by the Red Arrows display team were all affected. Upon inspection, all aircraft were eventually cleared to resume activity. The Hawk T1 and Tornado are fitted with the Martin-Baker Mk 10B, while the Eurofighter Typhoon is equipped with the MK.16A. 

AeroTime reached out to Martin-Baker for comment.

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