The B-2 Spirit, America’s sole heavy stealth bomber, is getting upgraded ejection seats, the latest in a series of upgrades for the multi-role bomber to keep the aircraft flying into the 2050s.
The Air Force on Tuesday awarded AMI Industries Inc., a United Technology Corp. subsidiary, a $14.4 million contract to develop upgraded Advanced Conception Ejection Seat II as part of the service’s Safety and Sustainability Program, according to a Defense Department contract announcement.
The [B-1] and other aircraft such as the A-10, F-15 and F-16 already use the technology.
Air Force budget documents for fiscal 2017, which begins Oct. 1, show the service has been planning to acquire upgraded seats for the B-2, under the research, development, test and evaluation line. The award, however, will also use RDTE funds from fiscal 2015.
“This contract provides for a safer means of escape for Air Force pilots, and reduces the cost and time for maintenance when removing or installing seats,” the announcement said.
The ejection seat will feature a detachable seatback and “bucket structure that does not require removal of the B-2 escape hatches for any maintenance task,” it said.