This rather large crew escape system was developed to carry a six-man crew in the B-1A bomber. The pictured unit is one of the sled test models and was later used in one of the tests. The entire unit was ejected by means of several rockets and descended under three large parachutes. A set of 'airbags' under the unit assisted in cushioning the impact on landing.
The B-1A program had three aircraft built with this kind of module. One of these aircraft was lost in a mishap when the aircraft center of gravity was scheduled aft beyond the point of controlability. The module system was actuated in a very low altitude attempt to escape and impacted the ground at a bad attitude. Two of the three crewmembers aboard survived.
When the B-1 program was restarted, the crew positions were reconfigured and limited to four crewmen. The module was dropped in favor of the lighter weight B-1B ACES II ejection seat systems.
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