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UK survival technology provider Survitec has supplied the 2,000th set of F-35 pilot Aircrew Flight Equipment (AFE), the company announced on 14 March 2023.

The equipment consists of a flight jacket, flight suit, anti-g trousers and an immersion suit, among other items. Fitting to the pilots takes place in special facilities, where the clothing system is adjusted to a pilot’s individual needs within 10 days.

Survitec is the sole supplier of AFE for the F-35 programme. The equipment is qualified to protect the pilot in all operational environments, including high-speed ejection. An accurate fit, explained David Stelling, Category Manager (Air) for Survitec’s Defence and Aerospace Business Development Team, is critical to ensure the protective gear functions properly, works with the aircraft’s life support systems and provides the required level of protection in all phases of flight.

“Well-fitting anti-g garments are critical to ensure an optimal level of g protection and reduce the need for physically demanding anti-g manoeuvres that lead to unnecessary fatigue and increase the risk of G-LOC: a loss of consciousness caused by g forces,” said Stelling.

As Survitec’s AFE qualifies as part of the pilot rescue system, German pilots will also be fitted with Survitec’s AFE in the future. The German branch of Survitec in Eschershausen/Lower Saxony, which emerged from Deutsche Schlauchboot GmbH, could be called upon to adapt the clothing. The company currently supplies rescue equipment for the German Navy, among others.

Gerhard Heiming