air force survival knife history

I’m not a fan of social media and don’t use it. Interesting information. In the late 1940’s, General Curtis LeMay, the head of the Strategic Air Command (SAC), authorized the creation of a survival kit for the crews of long range bombers. I just bought this knife from Ontario Knife Company. These knives became popular with outdoorsman. Many of us have been exposed to the fixed blade knife known popularly as the Air Force Survival Knife. Do you have any information on this kind of knife ever being produced? The serrated spine on this knife is part of the functional requirements for this knife. Not sure about the pommel stamping. The pommel is marked CAMILLUS N.Y. 2-1971 for February 1971 . The knife went through a couple of different vendors over its life cycle. Another possibility, is that a previous owner modified the knife after it was issued or purchased. The Boker Plus Air Force Pilot Survival Knife is the reissue of an extremely rare standard issue knife. Packaged in the sheath are a special tool for cutting seat belts and a diamond impregnated sharpening disk. Most knives I seen are marked 10998 or some other number not marked on my blade. The primary document that describes the various features of the Air Force Survival Knife is Military Specification MIL-K-8662 (16 October 1953). You mentioned the Ontario KNife Company briefly in the article. When you order any knife you are confirming that you are an adult making a legal purchase. I apologize for the delay in responding to your question. The sharpened clip point on the blade allows the pilot to punch a hole in the aluminum then use the knife spine as a hasty saw to cut through the aircraft skin during an aircraft egress situation. Phillip; The knife also comes with a parachute cutter that has a separate sheath which can be attached to a MOLLE vest. I believe the two holes in the blade guard was to dummy cord the knife. You can find items such as a Camillus Air Force survival knife from the Vietnam era or a Colonial knife that belonged to a World War II pilot. It has a classic, old school western look to it. I also picked up another old Camillus that has no dates on it whatsoever. This registration, granted in 1980, is for use of paranitrophenol as a fungicide incorporated into leather for military use, at a concentration not to exceed 0.7% on the basis of dry finished leather weight. However, there is not enough information in the literature to determine with certainty the purpose of the holes. Throughout the years they have supplied the U.S. military with products such as the M7 bayonet, the USAF Survival Knife, the M1942 Machete, the Navy MK3 MOD 0 diving/survival knife, the M9 … Camillus 5 inches Jet Pilot's Survival knife on top of. I’m assuming the knife is an earlier production but, as it’s a 5 inch blade, it has to be after 1961. In all other ways, it totally resembles the pilots survival knife distributed to the military in the 1950’s. This happens quite often. This is a cool knife i picked up at an army surplus store. One of the tasks that this knife was designed to accomplish was helping pilots and aircrews egress their downed aircraft or to help first responders extract them from their downed aircraft. The 5" plain edge blade has a.17" thickness with a flat bevel with swedge grind and an HRC of 50-55. The back piece has also been cut-through by the blade over the years, so the metal addition was definitely needed. Interesting article. Change ), You are commenting using your Google account. Many GIs bought these knives and carried them during the war in Vietnam, including my father, who bought on in the exchange in Takhli, Thailand, and wore it during missions over North Vietnam. In 1961, updates to the military specifications called for a 5-inch blade. The blade is finished from SK-5 carbon steel mirror. What are the unique features of the Air Force Survival Knife, as outlined in the U.S. Government specifications? Glen, 65 $71.95 $71.95 Here you will find information and tips on outdoor activities, wilderness safety and survival, equipment, first aid, health, and other related items of interest to hikers, backpackers, and other outdoor enthusiasts. Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: You are commenting using your account. Camillus produced the knife with a 6-inch blade from 1959-1961. Phil, Entertaining and informing. You are correct. Appreciating the persistence you put into your site and in depth information you provide. It used to be a standard piece of gear for anyone, including backpackers, who was a serious outdoorsman and wilderness adventurers back in the 1970s and 1980s, before the Rambo movies made popular the Rambo-type survival knife. This is a testimony to the ingenuity of the design team that developed the knife at the Marble’s company. Contact the Ontario Knife Company. So far I haven't found any ASEK's ordered by the Air Force, but that doesn't mean they aren't. €39.75 . It is currently still in inventory with the DoD through the GSA. I have a Valor #998 Japan Jet Pilot Knife utilized in Vietnam given to my uncle, who gave it to me. It includes a crushed diamond disk sharpener and a separate blade for cutting through seatbelt webbing. As best as can be ascertained, the two holes are used as lashing points for cordage for survival tasks in the field, such as creating a hasty spear. Ontario Knife Company 499 Air Force Survival Knife 5" Sawback Blade with False Top Edge and Blood Grooves, Natural Leather Handle and Sheath - 6150 4.5 out of 5 stars 992 $51.65 $ 51 . While researching this knife I discovered that Camillus, the same manufacturer as the iconic Kabar fighting knife, was the main producer of these knives. Both products contained a second active ingredient, salicylanilide. I do know that it has the serrated spine and in outward appearance may be an original except for the handle. I’ve read reviews that claim the new ones (from Ontario) are not as good. Thanks! Later, after service members began returning from Vietnam, the military-grade issued knives began to be seen on the market. The cutting blade is to be 5 1/8 inches long and 3/16 inches thick. The US Air Force jet Pilot Survival Knife that we know today has a history that goes back to the end of the Korean Conflict. I may be wrong but it may have been produced between 1970-1990, maybe in Asia. The 7-inch knife was not military issued knife. I own one of these knives and recently became interested in it’s history when one was found in a japanese built WWII tunnel system in a mountain in Northern Luzon, Philippines. The 5" plain edge blade has a .17" thickness with a flat bevel with swedge grind and an HRC of 50-55. Sure, they were still primarily for fighting, but they could also easily assist with other tasks soldiers might need outside of combat – like basic survival. In the early 2000s, the U.S. Army published requirements to private industry for an aviation survival knife to replace the aging Air Force Survival Knife. As the development and testing process began to take shape, updates to the original specification documents were published. Is this unusual? This knife was issued. To recuperate some of the money that they had spent producing blades and knife components, Marble offered a civilian version of the knife to the public in 1961. [1] The knife is 10.25 inches (26.0 cm) in length, the blade is 5 inches (13 cm) in length, .1875 inches (4.76 mm) thick and constructed from 1095 carbon steel. A zinc phosphate finish over the tough high carbon 1095 steel helps protect from rust. Camillus produced the Jet Pilot Survival Knife with a 5-inch blade from 1961-2006. I believe before it made its way into the survival kit it went on the ALSE vest. Ontario’s knife became procured by the U.S. Army and was issued a National Stock Number, NSN: 1095-01-530-0833 within the Federal Supply System. However, the essential features of the knife have remained constant throughout the life of the knife. Hello, I became curious about the background and history of this knife about a year ago. The Newer one is by Camillus the older one I got given to by my uncle, who got it from someone in Vietnam. In 1957, the Marble-Arms Corporation submitted to the U.S. government a design based on their Ideal Hunting Knife design. Fighting knives were no longer single-purpose tools of war, but were intended to be used in a variety of ways, as well as being combat blades. A second fungicidal product was registered in 1967. The Gerber ASEK has been approved for purchase, and Gerber released an additional version with a foliage green handle to match the Army Combat Uniform. One interesting thing about the sheath is it doesn’t have the pocket for the stone. Thanks for looking and have a great day. The item “US WW II Imperial Army Air Force Survival Machete Knife -Folding/Military -WW2″ is in sale since Wednesday, February 21, 2018. The reason behind Marble selling their knife to the general public was due, in part, to pre-maturely manufacturing several thousand knife blades and parts in advance of learning who would be awarded the government contract to supply the knives to the military. The knife has been in continuous service with the Department of Defense for over sixty years. Change ), Origins Of A New Survival Knife for Military Aircrews, The Air Force Survival Knife Introduced to the Commercial Market, Design Features for the Air Force Survival Knife, The blade is to be a “through tang” blade blanked from AISI 1095 steel conforming to MIL-S-8665, The blade will be tempered to a Rockwell Hardness of C50-C55. But you have an injury to your arm. Thanks for the feedback. The Air Force Survival Knife will be around for a very long time. View all posts by Major Hykr. Mine has a blued blade and crossguard. The sheath welt shall be 3/8-inch-thick and 2 ½ inches in length. Bama Knives takes no responsibility for injury, accident, death or criminal acts due to the misuse of any of our products. However, it was still adequate for survival situations and therefore remained in the Federal Supply System. It may also be used as a screwdriver or precision edge marker. I’ve bookmarked your site and I’m including your RSS feeds to my Google account. The genesis of the Air Force Survival Knife goes back to the 1950s at the dawn of the jet age. It is a Japanese made copy of the US Air Force Survival knife and was sold through the US military exchanges. A new world standard was set with the F1 through attention to important details including technical design, ergonomics and economy. [2][3], The US Army's Defense Supply Center purchased 11,881 Army ASEKs in 2004 and 2005 for equipping Aviation Life Support Equipment (ALSE) vests. The knife’s 1095 Carbon Steel fixed blade has an epoxy textured powder coated finish. Major Hykr is my blog site to chronicle my hiking and backpacking experiences. Even if the Ontario Knife Company discontinues their production and the DoD phases them out of their inventories, the knife will be around for commercial purchase. Before this requirement, knives of several types were procured by the individual branches of the military and dispensed to their members. The unique design gave the user the ability to strike, stab, and slash enemy combatants with devastating results. The leather for the grip will be cut into washers, 1/8 inch in thickness. With out further adieu I present the Ontario Military Issue Air Force Survival Knife w/Sheath. Finally I’ve found something which helped me. As with many uses of military equipment, service members use considerable ingenuity in the field when employing their equipment and therefore, the use of the holes in the blade guard for cordage lashing points may have been a field expedient use of the knife rather than as an intentionally designed purpose. from - The Original and Largest Online Catalog of Cutlery (The 1958 designed knife is still issued by US military, and is currently made by Ontario Knife. Ontario Spec Plus SP2 Air Force Survival Knife. I recently bought a new Ontario that has 3-11 on the pommel (March 2011 I reckon). However, based on the information that I have collected, vetted, and coupled with my own experience with the DoD procurement and testing process, here is the basic history of this knife. The second question that arises concerning some of the features of this knife is the purpose of the two holes in the blade guard. Ontario 6-89. The Aircrew Survival Egress Knife or ASEK is a U.S. Army aircrew survival knife, designed and initially manufactured by the Ontario Knife Company, and entered service in 2003.[1][2]. You are able to get the knife because it is dummy corded to you. Thus, this knife became obsolete for its original intended use when the majority of military aircraft incorporated composite materials. That latest acquisition also had a sheath lacking the metal back and tip of the sheath, but appears original in all respects. The serrated spine was designed to cut through the aluminum skin surrounding the airframes of Korean and Vietnam War-era aircraft. The Leather washers may have been replaced with the black ones. Each knife is manufactured in accordance with US Government specifications. By contrast, the current DoD procurement process is much more refined and regulated. 1 review(s) | Add your review. The grip will be made of leather in compliance with Federal Standard KK-L-165. The stamping was kind of inconsistent from my research. Boker Plus U.S. Air Force Survival Knife. This is a quick look at the Ontario Knife Company 499 Air Force Survival Knife. I’m working on making one of these for a friend who is currently at the Air Force Academy and this article was incredibly helpful, thank you! The iconic design features of the knife, that have characterized its look, have remained unchanged since its inception. Next to Les Stroud, Camillus joined forces with several other so-called Pro Staffers. This design was accepted, and the military specifications documents were updated to reflect Marble’s concept in MIL-K-8662A (04 November 1957). Thanks for your work. In December 2011, Acme United signed an agreement with Les Stroud to build and sell Camillus survival knives and tools, co-designed and promoted by the outdoor adventurer, known from the TV series Survivorman. Currently, the military-grade Air Force Survival Knife is only manufactured and sold by the Ontario Knife Company. The United States Army Aeromedical Research Lab (USAARL) considered the lack of insulated handle of the Ontario knife to be a catastrophic failure of the standard, and Ontario is redesigning their ASEK to meet this requirement.[4]. After the completion of testing and bidding competition between Marble, Camillus Cutlery, and the Ontario Knife Company (OKC), Camillus was awarded the contract to supply the new Jet Pilot Survival Knife (JPSK) to the Department of Defense instead of Marble. Surplus stores will purchase them in bulk through U.S. Government auctions, collectors will buy them at auctions, military museums will display them, and they will continue to be available for purchase on the internet. Additionally, the jet age in military aviation increased the number of gear pilots and aircrews had to carry on their flights. But if it’s an Asian imitation then it’s hard to determine when it was made. However, because of Marble’s premature manufacturing of the knife before it was awarded a government contract, the rest of the world gained the privilege to own this knife. I have several good photos of the knife which I’d be happy to forward but there doesn’t seem to be a way to send them to you on this site. Consequently, the knife blade being reduced from six inches to five inches allowed it to retain some of the qualities necessary to carry out survival tasks, but small enough that it could be easily stowed on an aircrewman’s vest without causing interference for aircrews trying to carry out their duties while flying. With a bowie-style clip-point tip and serrated teeth on the spine, this knife is ideal for a variety of cutting applications. Air Force Survival Knife 9/14/20 - This is a civilian version of an Air Force survival knife- aka the jet pilot's survival knife. Paranitrophenol was first registered in the United States in 1963 as a fungicide incorporated into leather products and hides as a preservative. I hope this helps. The tip of the sheath is pointed and the back part of leather extends beyond the front for two lanyard holes. I've included sections on the history, a bit of anatomy of CSAR knives, other associations I've had with PJs, and where the future of this is going. Moreover, the requirement for having a standard survival knife for pilots and aircrews across the DoD was due to economic considerations and budgeting constraints at the time which fostered standardization across the military services. The ASEK, made by Ontario, was adopted after trials by United States Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center in Natick, Massachusetts. [4], It has a number of features that aid in escaping an aircraft, such as the ability to be used as a hammer to break acrylic glass cockpit windows and cut through an aircraft's aluminium skin. The journey of this iconic knife has been exciting to discover. You pull the knife out but drop it. ( Log Out /  I own one as a backup knife for my backpacking, outdoor, and emergency needs. Change ), You are commenting using your Twitter account. If you have any question’s or concern’s please ask and be sure to ZOOM in on picture’s as they describe the item better than I can. It does, however, have a small “Japan” stamped in the blade at the hilt. It appears that in 2006, Ontario Knife Company became the current vendor to the DoD of the Jet Pilot Survival Knife under the National Stock Number (NSN): 7340-00-098-4327. Requirements for the replacement knife, set by the United States Army Aviation Branch, included tests in: Other features, such as an electrically insulated handle, were deemed desirable, but not required. So, as stated earlier, the archives of Marble or the DoD may reveal conclusively if the reason for the holes in the handguard. ( Log Out /  Style: Fixed Spear Overall Length: 24 cm (9.5 in.) Thanks for sharing. Thank you, this is a very informative treatise on this knife. Possibly, some may have had one issued to them while serving in the military. US Air Force Pilots Survival Knife. You can send them to my email: [email protected] The sheath is a bit unimaginative but I really do like the sharping stone pocket. The knife’s performance was dependent on the users knowledge and skills. You need to get the knife out to cut your way out. ( Log Out /  I’ve had a couple of the Camillus knives and they had the years indicated: 1975 and 1981. A zinc phosphate finish over the tough high carbon 1095 steel helps protect from rust. The fixed blade’s length is 4.5 inches. It is also suspected that knife makers will begin to find ways to improve the knife and manufacture their versions of the knife similar to what knife companies are doing with other legacy knife designs. Blade Steel: 1095 Carbon Steel Blade Length: 12.7 cm (5.0 in.) The sharpening stone size shall be 3 inches long, 7/8-inch-wide, and 1/4 inch thick. The knife was probably modified by a previous owner. Any information you could provide would be greatly appreciated. Any information is appreciated. I am trying to find any information on a 7 inch U.S. Camillus. The 1954 update calls for the knife to have a sharpened clip point blade and an additional rivet to the sheath. Hi Wilfredo, Hi Bruce: The blade is polished and is 6". Thanks for contacting me. The Ontario Knife 6150, 499 Air Force Survival Knife has become an Ontario CLASSIC also used by US Armed Forces. Thanks for your response. As a result, the Ontario Knife Company developed a prototype based on the 1957 design that was first submitted by Marble. The Air Force Survival Knife has had a storied, yet obscure, history. Any Further Details or assistance is greatly appreciated. I sent some pictures I have of mine, Major. Additionally, OKC is the only company selling this knife commercially. Enjoy and See you on the trail! Those who do not currently own one should purchase one. The Air Force Survival Knife was introduced to the commercial market by Marble after not being awarded the DoD contract to supply the new survival knife to the military. The genesis of the Air Force Survival Knife goes back to the 1950s at the dawn of the jet age. United States Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center, United States Army Aeromedical Research Lab, "Army developing new aircrew survival knife", List of individual weapons of the U.S. Armed Forces, Cutlery and Allied Trades Research Association,, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, holes for tying the knife to a stick to act as a spear, This page was last edited on 3 January 2021, at 06:06. The sharpening stone shall be fabricated from silicon carbide, grain size 280, hardness P, vitrified bond. Some companies marked them and some did not. It’s nice to come across a blog every once in a while that isn’t the same old rehashed material. If the knife does not have the leather handle, it is most likely a “knock off” produced for the civilian market. The Mark I is based on the French variety, except i… Ontario Knife Company is most well known as a supplier of military knives. Additionally, synthetic composite materials like Kevlar had not been fully integrated into aircraft construction until the late 1970s and 1980s. This knife has been around for many years. Also it is not cut to put on a belt. Any opinions? Change ), You are commenting using your Facebook account. The design features for this knife came about through various inputs from servicemembers, survivability researchers, and training developers. However, the registrations for all registered products containing salicylanilide as an active ingredient have been canceled. After vetting the information against the published government standards for this knife and the government procurement process, what emerged was a unique story of an iconic knife that has found its way from the military to the civilian outdoor world and into the hearts of many owners and users. [2], During the initial evaluation, an electrically insulated handle was considered to be desirable but not mandatory. Can you say more about how Ontario played a role in the Survival Knife’s evolution ? The Trench Knife It is assumed that such information resides in the archives of the companies that have manufactured the knife as well as the files of the DoD. The story of this knife seems to begin in 1953, when the DoD announced to private industry their specifications for a standardized survival knife for pilots to interested vendors in Military Specification MIL-K-8662 (16 October 1953). The Boker Plus U.S. Air Force Survival Knife is a good quality knife at a decent price that won’t break your bank. Both are excellent knives. Curiously enough, my knife does not have the Camillus trademark name stamp anywhere on the knife or the sheath. Relevant!! Can These Awesome Items Make A Great Backpack Loadout. Ontario made their first JPSK's for Uncle dated on the pommel 1-1969. It will not be long before you are won over by the versatility and practicality of the Air Force Survival Knife.

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