EVOLUTION OF THE SWISS AF F/A-18 PILOT GEAR

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By end of the 1990's, at the beginning of F/A-18 operations in Switzerland, the crew equipment was, with minor modifications, the same as the one used by the US Navy, including the MA-2 torso harness and LPU-23 life preserver assembly.

Considered as unconfortable by the crews, with inadequate adjustment capability and limiting pilot mobility in air combat, at the beginning of the 2000s the torso harness was replaced by a "Simplified Combined Harness" (SCH).

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Swiss AF

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For this purpose, a number of the Hornet's Martin Baker Mk. CH 14 ejection seat components were modified. These were, among others, the survival package seat pan configuration, the head box, the parachute and the straps system.

The new seat configuration, with the pilot lacking the capability to carry survival equipment in case of an ejection, required the wearing of a life vest. The "automatic" Lifeguard LG1566 became the standard equipment.​

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Archive C.M. 

Half a decade after, it was decided to implement an "off boresight" helmet system, for instance the Elbit/ Vision Systems International (VSI) JHMCS; unfortunately it was discovered that the seat and pilot equipment configuration to be not JHMCS compatible.

The seat had to be "de-modified" and again a torso harness/ survival vest - the combo PCU-56/ LPU-36 - implemented.​

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Archive C.M.