Russian MoD working on new generation of g-force pilot protection gear

The Russian Defense Ministry’s Research and Testing Center of Aviation and Space Medicine and Military Ergonomics is working on new protective equipment for pilots, using modern materials and technologies, says Igor Zhdanko, Doctor of Medical Science and senior researcher of the medical service, who heads the facility.

Russian MoD working on new generation of g force pilot protection gear 01 Russian pilot flying a Mikoyan MiG-31(Picture source: Russian MoD)

 The Center is celebrating its 85th anniversary this year. Its specialists have contributed to the renowned space flight of the dog Laika - the first living creature to ever be sent into space. In addition, it participated in Yuri Gagarin’s historic flight.

"Today, our Center is working on new pilot protective gear, which will involve modern materials and technologies," Zhdanko told the Krasnaya Zvezda newspaper. "This will be a new generation of ventilated equipment."

He did not provide any further details on the new development.

According to the Center’s director, its personnel is now focused on solving the key issues on protecting and preserving a pilot’s combat capability in the upgraded and upcoming military planes.

"[These issues include] the justification of methods and the development of requirements for the gear that protects the pilot from dynamic multidirectional g-forces during combat maneuvering. These forces pose danger of loss of consciousness, spine injury, increased crash risk and decreased combat effectiveness," the senior researcher said.

He disclosed that this research is being conducted at the Center’s own laboratory bench facility, which possesses unique models of planes and helicopters and research benches that simulate various flight factors, including a centrifuge, a hyperbaric chamber and sound-proof isolation chambers (surdochambers).

He added that a large portion of the research is being conducted during real flights on planes and helicopters, equipped with specialized sensors.

Zhdanko also disclosed that the Center’s specialists have developed and are ready to implement methods of psycho-physiological training of pilots, intended to boost their resistance to such flight factors as high and prolonged excessive g-forces.

Besides, the Center has innovated four generations of ejection seats that are considered the best in the world. It has also come up with an impact protection for helicopters.

"We have developed unique landing safety systems for armored vehicles that descend with the crew onboard," Zhdanko stated, adding that these systems have already been put into service.

Another issue the Center is working on is improving medical control over the health of pilots, and physiological and psycho-physiological reserves during the training.

Zhdanko underscored that the human factor is one of the most difficult problems for military specialists in military aviation.

"Technical capabilities of planes will keep expanding, while human psycho-physiological capabilities will remain at effectively the same level. The Center’s work in the upcoming years will focus on solving these important […] issues," he added.

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