EVOLUTION OF THE SWISS AF F/A-18 PILOT GEAR
By end of the '90, at the beginning of F/A-18 operations in Switzerland, the crew equipment was, with minor modifications, the same as the US Navy one; including the MA-2 torso harness and LPU-23 life preserver assembly.
Considered by the crews uncomfortable, with inadequate adjustment capability and limiting pilot mobility in air combat, at the beginning of the 2000s the torso harness replaced by a "Simplified Combined Harness" (SCH).
For this purpose, a number of Hornet's Martin Baker Mk. CH 14 ejection seat components were modified as, between others, the survival package seat pan configuration, head box, parachute and straps system.
The new seat configuration, the pilot lacking the capability to carry survival equipment in case of an ejection, required to wear a life vest. The "automatic" Lifeguard LG1566 became the standard equipment.
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.