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Explained: Canopy Severance System (CSS) for fighter aircraft developed by DRDO facility

Tulika Tandon

Canopy Severance System (CSS): Why in the news?

India has its own canopy severance system (CSS) that has been developed by Armament Research and Development Establishment (ARDE), Pune, DRDO in association with High Energy Material Research Laboratory. It has been indigenously developed for LCA Tejas and Trainer Aircraft, HJT-36 and HTT-40.

What is a Canopy Severance System?

  1. Canopy Severance System is an escape path clearance system that is used by the pilots in case of emergencies happening while flying. 
  2. It also provides a safe passage by pre weakening/ severing the canopy to facilitate the smooth escape of the pilot as soon as possible. 
  3. This is a life saving system of a fighter aircraft helping it to safely eject pilots at the time of need. Two major components required for functioning of CSS are 
  4. MDC for cutting the bubble of canopy 
  5. Explosive Transfer Line (ETL) for transmission of explosive shock from one point to another.
  6. MDC and ETL function with a velocity of detonation of 6000 m/s ensuring that the cutting action of the Canopy occurs in less than 5 m sec from the time of initiation

In the picture below, one can see the features of canopy on LCA Tejas:

About Indegenious CSS:

  1. The CSS project for LCA Tejas and its trainer aircraft was tested successfully in London and Moscow
  2. The GOCL has already supplied eight units of the CSS after fulfilling qualification and functional tests   
  3. All aircraft are undergoing test flights with CSS
  4. LCA TD-1,TD-2 and PV-1 have been assembled with indigenous CSS

Also Read| DRDO's Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) System and its benefits for Indian Submarines

How does the Canopy Severance System Work?

CSS works on the principle of controlled propagation of detonation using explosive mechanical energy. It consists of critical mechanical and explosive components that may be apt for military grade devices and be reliable enough. 

The subsystems of Canopy Severance System have two independent subsystems:

i) In Flight Egress System

ii) Ground Egress System

What is an In- Flight Egress System?

The In Flight Egress System is useful for in-flight emergencies. It is integrated with main escape system operation and with seat ejection operation. Take a look at the picture to completely understand. 

What is the Ground Egress System?

The Ground Egress System is for on-ground emergencies and is majorly independent of the main escape system and also of seat ejection. 

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