ISSUED BY: Martin-Baker at the Paris Air Show, Le Bourget

Martin-Baker is very pleased to announce that an historical milestone was reached on Wednesday 11 June 2003 when the Company received news of the safe escape of Lieutenant Commander Robert Schwab RN from a Sea Harrier FA2 off the coast of Devon, England, using one of the Company’s ejection seats. Lt. Cmdr. Schawb was conducting an air test at 28,000 feet when the aircraft became uncontrollable and entered a spin. As the aircraft descended, still spinning, through 10,000 feet Lt. Cmdr. Schwab ejected using his Martin-Baker Mk.10H ejection seat and was reportedly recovered from the sea uninjured. This is Lt. Cmdr. Schwab’s second ejection, the first being in 1984 when he escaped from a Hawk trainer that was sliding along the ground after the collapse of its landing gear.

Joint Managing Directors, John and James Martin, the twin sons of the Company’s founder Sir James Martin, were delighted to receive news of this latest safe ejection. James Martin, commenting on this unique achievement, said “The entire workforce is immensely proud that the ejection seats which they produce, have safely returned so many aviators to their families. During 55 years of continuous ejection seat manufacture, we have supplied over 92 air forces, and produced 70,000 ejection seats. We never lose sight of the fact that one in ten of the ejection seats that we manufacture will be used to save a life ”.

Martin-Baker is the World's longest established and most experienced manufacturer of ejection seats and related equipment that safeguards the aviator throughout the escape, survival, location and recovery phases.

The Company has pioneered ejection seat development since 1944, and in 1946, conducted the first live demonstration ejection from a specially converted Gloster Meteor fighter. On 30th May 1949, test pilot J. O. (Joe) Lancaster, now living in retirement, became the first to make an emergency ejection, using a Martin-Baker seat, from an Armstrong Whitworth flying wing experimental aircraft. In the intervening 54 years Martin-Baker has continued to lead the way in ejection seat technology by introducing many advances in crew safety that provide the very best chance of survival for the aviator who is forced to abandon his or her aircraft. The Company’s more recent ejection seat designs use an on-board electronic sequencer, to sense various factors such as speed and altitude to optimise control of the operation of the seat Emergency ejections have been made under conditions ranging from ground level to the highest at 57,000 feet and from a standstill to the fastest at over 800 mph.

The latest Mk.16 range of seats has been competitively selected for the Raytheon T-6A, Korean Aerospace’s KT-1 and T-50, Pilatus PC-21, , Northrop T-38 and F-5, Aermacchi M –346, Dassault Rafale and the Eurofighter Typhoon.

Martin-Baker is now developing the next generation ejection seat for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter for the U.S., U.K. and other services. This new seat will once again establish an even higher safety benchmark for the pilots of tomorrow.


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Some of the above information was sourced from Martin Baker Aircraft.