Last year RAM Gaskets was involved in the manufacturing of 4 F-35 replica Lightning jets.
At RNAS Culdrose the Royal Navy School of Flight Deck Operations had four life-sized replicas of the F-35 Lightning jets built. They used these aircrafts to practice handling, marshalling and moving in a simulated flight-deck environment, in preparation for manoeuvring these jets on aircraft carriers. The ‘faux fighters’ as they are known by the team at Culdrose, have no engines, weapons or sensors but they were built to allow handlers to get used to the size of the real aircrafts. The jets were built from fibre-glass, and RAM Gaskets supplied the Cornish company behind the construction with the bespoke neoprene foam rubber seals used on the cockpits. Two of the cockpits were designed to open to allow the practice of extracting injured pilots during a crash rescue.
The Captain of the Flight Deck said; “They have been training using Sea Harrier which provide the noise and the smell, but the new aircraft are vastly different in size. The new training aids are really life-like and above all they give a sense of realism to the training here. To have these life-size replicas of the real thing is so important, invaluable actually. There is no margin for error when operating with live aircraft on a real flight deck at sea.”