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Air Force Decides Fighter Pilots will not wear Survival Vests...


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#1 Mashsig

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Posted 27 August 2013 - 09:09 AM

The US Air Force decided to make "improvements" for the Twenty First Century. Starting in 2013 - US Air Force fighter pilots will not wear Survival Vests. It is called: "AFSO21 - Air Force Smart Operations for the 21st Century".

The change was made because over the last 8 years the weight of the survival vest had increased and the change "eliminated duplicate items already found in the cockpits". (i.e., items found in the ejection seat kit) AF Photo: 110215-F-LT259-108

The photo below is of Capt. Glen Whelan, an F-15 pilot assigned to the 44th Fighter Squadron. It displays on the left the Survival Vest worn by fighter pilots before AFSO21. And on the right (in the following post) after AFSO21. (Because of the 150k upload limit I had to split the photo in two.)

Capt Glen Whelan.png

#2 Mashsig

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Posted 27 August 2013 - 09:12 AM

Here is the other half of the photo on the right of Capt Glen Whelan without a survival vest:

No SRU Vest for AF Fighter pilots sm.png

It appears the floatation collar is attached to his parachute harness.

#3 Mashsig

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Posted 27 August 2013 - 09:16 AM

And here is a recent photo of a pilot qualifying in Germany after re-upping:

Pilot in Germany with new SRU Kit sm.png

This pilot is not wearing a survival vest and appears to have a new type of survival pad kit attached to his parachute harness over his abdomen.

#4 Mashsig

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Posted 27 August 2013 - 09:23 AM

The Capt. Scott O'Grady story in Bosnia (Basher Five Two) was apparently considered a fluke by the Air Force.

You may recall that Capt. O'Grady did not have time to grab his ejection seat kit because the "hostiles", who were trying to kill him, were almost on top of him when his boots hit the ground! It was only the PRC in his survival vest that allowed him to be rescued!

The Air Force no longer has a "Sandy" program to rescue downed pilots in an active war zone! So can you say BOHICA!

Perhaps this new "Pad" survival kit (if it is an SRU kit) is not so heavy.

#5 WWII Parachutist

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Posted 28 August 2013 - 04:53 PM

And here is a recent photo of a pilot qualifying in Germany after re-upping:

attachicon.gifPilot in Germany with new SRU Kit sm.png

This pilot is not wearing a survival vest and appears to have a new type of survival pad kit attached to his parachute harness over his abdomen.

I believe that is actually a reserve parachute. As this would be a training jump, a reserve would be mandatory. It appears to be the new T-11 type with the new ripcord arrangement. 



#6 hawkdriver

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Posted 28 August 2013 - 05:09 PM

Here is the other half of the photo on the right of Capt Glen Whelan without a survival vest:

attachicon.gifNo SRU Vest for AF Fighter pilots sm.png

It appears the floatation collar is attached to his parachute harness.

 

That is just pure genius, I can't believe that the Air Force is the only one that thought of this!  I'm hopeful that before we deploy, maybe we can ditch our vest and armor.  Maybe soon thereafter, we can come up with a lighter helmet, say..... David Clark headset with Ray-Ban's, using a straw hat for protection.  And that pesky Nomex, maybe we can down dress to a tank top, shorts, and flip flops.  Once again, the Air Force is the dull rounded noch of the spear!

 

P.S. For those that don't understand, this is my sarcastic way of saying this is forking stupid!!!!!  No wonder AF pilots leave in droves.



#7 hbtcoveralls

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Posted 28 August 2013 - 05:50 PM

Of course drone pilots don't need survival vests at all.

Tom Bowers



#8 hawkdriver

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Posted 28 August 2013 - 06:12 PM

Tom, you are a genius, that is it!  They are preparing the real pilots to be drone pilots!  The LPU is actually to help prevent whiplash when they doze off.



#9 HolyHappiness

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Posted 28 August 2013 - 06:32 PM

As a member of the air force, I can say that this is just a small example of the bueracratic BS that is killing the armed forces. This was shameful to read!
Nathan

#10 m1ashooter

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Posted 29 August 2013 - 12:44 AM

Not sure if the vest is really needed.  I mean a sam up you tail pipe normally ruins your day.  Maybe this is just part of the concept of the Air Forces future operational war plan.  I've read alot about drones going after the really hard targets in a future war and manned aircraft playing a lesser role.



#11 hawkdriver

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Posted 29 August 2013 - 02:52 AM

Not sure if the vest is really needed.  I mean a sam up you tail pipe normally ruins your day.  Maybe this is just part of the concept of the Air Forces future operational war plan.  I've read alot about drones going after the really hard targets in a future war and manned aircraft playing a lesser role.

 

That is all well and good until you are the poor bastard sitting out there on the side of the hill all by yourself in a hot nasty place with nothing but a LPU around your neck to keep you company. 

  I think we have gotten into a mentality that the NATGEO Pedro guys will be landing right beside you once you get your chute rolled up and thus a vest is no longer necessary, but being a helo guy, I can tell you that there are a lot of reasons that you may not be picked up real soon and being literally naked as a baby and full of fear is not where you want to be when there are guys wanting to kill you and cut your head off. 

  If drones are the way they are going for combat, that is fine.  But the guy in the tub is still going to have to be there and it's called a survival vest, not a combat vest.  There are still plenty of places to go down and not having any survival gear is a bad idea.  Oh, and by the way, we are taught by repeated past experiences that if it isn't strapped to your body, you can count on not having it when you need it.  Way to many people have been shot down or crashed and forgot their rifles, ammo, go bag, survival kit because the adrenaline was pumping and it was not thought of. So, even a seat-pan survival kit as your only option is not a very good option.



#12 mohawkALSE

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Posted 29 August 2013 - 11:02 AM

I think what they are doing is eliminating the use of the vest and packing all their items in the seat kits.  The pilot shown in reference is an F-15 which has the ACES II ejection seat.  There should be 1 or 2 vinyl waterproof survival kit bags in the seat pan that go with you when you separate from the seat.  This also isnt always going to be perfect of course, not all bailouts/ejections go perfectly.  All your gear can be ripped from you in a high speed ejection.  When the Combat Edge Anti G ensemble came out, no fighter pilots wore vests either because they wore the CSU-17 Anti G vest.

 

As for that chest chute thing, I don't know what that can be for other than Airlift type crew if it is indeed for aircrew.  Ejection seats already have the personal parachutes packed in them so that new chute isn't for ejection seat aircraft.



#13 jgawne

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Posted 29 August 2013 - 11:45 AM

It really does open it up for a drone pilot survival vest- with snacks, Mountain Dew bladders, etc. in it.



#14 mohawkALSE

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Posted 29 August 2013 - 04:08 PM

Its kind of funny as well that you mention the PEDRO Hawk,  if the tacair guys aren't supposed to have vests, why are the CSAR guys going to rescue them loaded head to toe with armor survival vests and small arms.  Heck most of the stuff I saw my friend wears was more high speed than Air Warrior stuff.



#15 northcoastaero

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Posted 29 August 2013 - 07:36 PM

I believe the SRU-16/P minimum survival kit and the strobe light are attached to the PCU-15/P and PCU-16/P torso parachute harness.  The BA-XX back parachutes used on the B-52 have the SRU-16/P inside the parachute container back flap and possibly the strobe light on the

outside.  The BA-XX also has a beacon and antenna inside the pack.  BAT-21 Bravo (EB-66C, 1972) also did not have time to access his

seat kit and probably the SRU-16/P also.  He just had what was in the SRU-21/P vest and flight suit pockets.  In my opinion, the SRU-21/P

vest for the USAF seems to be a good design.  Maybe there needs to be redesigned pockets with zippers and Velcro closure instead of just

Velcro on some of the pockets.  I guess the mesh on the SRU-21/P could could catch on branches.  Maybe just put some lightweight items in

the flight suit pockets and reduce the number of pockets/items on the vest.  I believe that I have seen photos of some survival pockets on the

outside of the Combat Edge vest used with some aircraft.  Could add another pocket on the right shoulder of the flight suit for some survival

items?


Edited by northcoastaero, 29 August 2013 - 07:37 PM.


#16 Mashsig

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Posted 31 August 2013 - 08:36 AM

"In my opinion, the SRU-21/P vest for the USAF seems to be a good design. Maybe there needs to be redesigned pockets with zippers and Velcro closure instead of just Velcro on some of the pockets. I guess the mesh on the SRU-21/P could could catch on branches. Maybe just put some lightweight items in
the flight suit pockets and reduce the number of pockets/items on the vest."
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
northcoastaero, I agree with you assessment of the SRU-21/P Survival Vest. In fact when Blackhawk was making a version of the SRU-21/P in OD green I ordered one. (The Army version was still not readily available.)

I don't know if you are aware of the following topic:

http://www.usmilitar...-survival-vest/

but on MowhawkALSE's topic of the CMU-30 NAVY survival vest - we have been talking about Ultimate Survival's "Air Ace" or snap tracks survival Vest. Which meets the SRU-21/P Mil Spec and has been issued by the Air Force to Fighter Pilots and SAR Airmen since about 2010.

I have posted drawings of the Air Aces vest and Air Force photos of the vest in use.

Interestingly - I also found Air Force photos of pilots prior to 2010 and "PALS" (MOLLE) using Blackhawk vests - the medical one and another type.

Edited by Mashsig, 31 August 2013 - 08:37 AM.


#17 Survival

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Posted 04 September 2013 - 10:40 AM

I checked on that with a friend who works at the Air Force Life Sciences Lab and this is what he told me....

 

"The AF isn't cancelling survival vest usage or future procurements.  This is a necessary item to carry life sustaining equipment.  There are studies to look at minimizing equipment carried on aircrew members  vs wearing a bulky survival vest.  (e.g. peacetime flying here in CONUS) but that wouldn't pertain to combat or remote area operations as a vest would still be required"

 

If I hear anything else will pass it on....



#18 juvatwad

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Posted 04 September 2013 - 11:00 AM

The survival vest was squishing all of the chick's boobs, so it had to go.

 

Ian



#19 Mashsig

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Posted 05 September 2013 - 12:18 PM

I checked on that with a friend who works at the Air Force Life Sciences Lab and this is what he told me....
 
"The AF isn't cancelling survival vest usage or future procurements.  This is a necessary item to carry life sustaining equipment.  There are studies to look at minimizing equipment carried on aircrew members  vs wearing a bulky survival vest.  (e.g. peacetime flying here in CONUS) but that wouldn't pertain to combat or remote area operations as a vest would still be required"
 
If I hear anything else will pass it on....


Roger that. The Air Force SO21 ("Smart Operations" for the 21st Century) does not cancel the Survival Vest nor does it remove the requirement from all US AF Aircrews.

What SO21 does do is remove the vest from fighter pilots - flying the F-16, F-15, F-22 and the F-35. All other pilots and aircrews are not effected by SO21.

In fact on another topic - I was reporting that the Air Force is testing the AIRSAVE around the world - and has already issued the AIRSAVE to B-2 pilots for evaluation


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