The Air Force is seeking contractors able to develop technical orders and update aircraft manuals, drawings and specifications required for the planned replacement of the Collins Aerospace [RTX] Advanced Concept Ejection Seat II (ACES II) with the Collins Aerospace ACES 5 for Boeing [BA] F-15E Strike Eagles.

Given the differences between ACES 5 and ACES II, the Air Force wants the contractor to analyze how best to integrate the ACES 5 on the F-15E.

The contractor’s analysis is to help inform the integration of the ACES 5 ejection seat on the Air Force’s new Boeing F-15EXs under a separate acquisition effort. The F-15EXs are now slated to have ACES II.

The Air Force “plans to incorporate the ACES 5 into the F-15E model aircraft to improve pilot survivability and aircraft availability,” per a performance work statement released on Nov. 8. “The F-15 SPO [system program office] desires the retrofit of the ACES 5 into the E model aircraft be as common as possible with the EX model. Recognizing there will be some differences between the ACES 5 and the current ACES II system, the F-15 SPO requires the contractor’s assistance for ACES 5 integration analysis. The ACES 5 design introduces new ejection seat technology to decrease the likelihood of major injury or death upon ejection. Furthermore, the program incorporates a modular design that decreases routine maintenance time and increases operational availability.”

The Air Force wants 2,906 Next Generation Ejection Seats (NGES) for the F-15, F-16, F-22, B-1, and A-10 aircraft.

“These five legacy fighter and bomber aircraft have accommodated a greater range of pilot sizes that have had to fly at risk for years,” per the performance of work. “Additionally, these aircraft have seen their respective pilots gain increased warfighting capabilities such as Helmet Mounted Displays (HMD) and improved Aircrew Flight Equipment (AFE).”

On Oct. 23 last year, the Air Force awarded Colorado Springs-based AMI Industries, Inc.–owned by Raytheon/Collins Aerospace, a $700 million contract for a next generation ejection seat. The contract announcement did not mention the Raytheon/Collins Aerospace affiliation of AMI Industries nor ACES 5, but six days later Collins Aerospace said that the first delivery order for the next generation ejection seat “focuses on outfitting the USAF fleet of Boeing F-15s with the ACES 5 ejection seat.”

Collins Aerospace said that ACES 5 “features enhanced head, neck, arm and leg flail prevention, in addition to a load-compensating catapult based on the occupant’s weight.”

“ACES 5 reduces overall ejection-related major injuries to less than 5 percent and ejection-related spinal injuries to less than 1 percent,” the company said.

The Nov. 8 performance work statement by the Air Force Life Cycle Management Ceneter said that a chosen contractor would “evaluate F-15E cockpit structures, including commonality for the F-15E and F-15EX.”

“Small differences in fastener locations between F-15E and F-15EX may be required to accommodate differences in the backup/mating structures; this is acceptable as long as the lanyard/cable routings, keeper channels, and lanyard/cable connection interface points are in the same 3-D coordinate locations,” per the work statement.