USAF introduces HydroSkip to provide F-16 pilots with better visibility during rainstorms

Air Force Material Command has announced an Air Force Research Laboratory-developed product that repels water from aircraft transparencies will soon be available to the USAF F-16 community, the company said.

The product, called HydroSkip, addresses the issue of limited visibility caused by heavy rain, which can impair the pilot´s ability to navigate the plane and land safely.

While USAF pilots receive weather reports from operational support squadrons, unexpected conditions, like fast moving, pop-up storms, pose risks to planes in the air. In these cases, HydroSkip intends to prevent rain from pooling or remaining stagnant on the F-16 canopy, the transparent enclosure over the cockpit.

Engineers from AFRL´s Aerospace Systems Directorate and University of Dayton Research Institute selected the formula for HydroSkip after testing about 25 different formulations under simulated conditions in the lab.

While the product will be available to the entire USAF F-16 fleet, three Air Force bases including one US base and two outside the US, will test HydroSkip under certain criteria.

HydroSkip differs from manufacture-applied coatings since it can be field applied to the F-16 canopy throughout the fighter jet´s lifetime.