In a path-breaking development, Armament Research and Development Establishment (ARDE), Pune along with High Energy Material Research Laboratory (HEMRL) has made a state-of-the-art Canopy Severance System (CSS), which provides a safe escape path for a pilot operating an aircraft in case of an emergency.
The escape system has been designed for the indigenously developed Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas and Trainer Aircraft, HJT-36 Aircraft and HTT-40 Aircraft. All modern aircraft are equipped with a Canopy Severance System (CSS) for a safe passage by pre-weakening/severing the canopy to facilitate the smooth escape of the pilot in a swift manner.
Understanding CSS: The life-saving aircraft device
The Canopy Severance System (CSS) is a life-saving device that helps in the safe ejection of a fighter aircraft pilot in a time of distress. CSS comprises two independent subsystems. The first one being the In-flight Egress System (IES) for in-flight emergencies, which is integrated with the seat ejection operation and rescues the pilot in case of emergencies when the aircraft is in flight. The second one is the Ground Egress System (GES) for on-ground emergencies, which rescues the pilot in case of ground emergencies without initiating the ejection seat.
CSS works with the two critical components, MDC for cutting canopy bubbles and Explosive transfer line (ETL) for transmission of explosive shock from one point to another without affecting surroundings. MDC and ETL operate with a velocity of detonation of 6000 metres per second, ensuring the cutting action of the canopy occurs in less than 5 m/sec from the time of initiation. Further, CSS works on the tenet of controlled propagation of detonation with the help of explosive mechanical energy. It consists of critical mechanical and explosive components qualified to military-grade requirements and demonstrating high reliability.
The seat ejection trials of CSS for LCA Tejas were tested successfully at M/s Martin Baker Co., London, UK and for trainer aircraft at M/s. Zvezda, Moscow, Russia. The design of CSS design has been done by Certifying Agency RCMA (AA), Pune and CEMILAC, Bangalore has issued Type Approval. ARDE and HEMRL are now capable of developing CSS for any fighter jet aircraft as required by Indian Air Force (IAF).
To date, CSS has been equipped on 25 LCA Tejas, 12 HJT-36, 2 LCA Trainer and Naval versions and the two HTT-40 Aircraft. The aircraft are undergoing test flights with CSS onboard. Besides, State-owned aerospace and Defence company Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has approached for production and supply of 105 CSS sets for LCA and 75 CSS sets for HTT-40 aircraft within four years.
About Armament Research and Development Establishment (ARDE)
India’s Armament Research & Development Establishment (ARDE) is a laboratory of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) located in Pune, Maharashtra. ARDE primarily focuses on research, design and development in the field of conventional armaments for the Indian Armed Forces.
The lab has expertise in the development of small arms, rocket systems, artillery guns, air-delivered munitions, and warheads. ARDE has also established advanced infrastructural facilities and required technologies for the design and development of arms and artillery.