ASEK

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.

The ASEK replaced the World War II era survival knife which had a number of problems with the leather sheath and handle, the sharpening stone, and corrosion resistance. Requirements for the replacement knife, set by the United States Army Aviation Branch, included tests in:

  • sawing through aircraft skin and acrylic glass windows
  • cutting
  • hammering

Required features included:

  • a point used to stab
  • a hand guard
  • durability
  • light weight
  • holes for tying the knife to a stick to act as a spear

Other features, such as an electrically insulated handle, were deemed desirable, but not required. Packaged in the sheath are a special tool for cutting seat belts and a diamond impregnated sharpening disk. The ASEK, made by Ontario, was adopted after trials by United States Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center in Natick, Massachusetts.

The US Army's Defense Supply Center purchased 11,881 Army ASEKS in 2004 and 2005 for equipping aviation life support equipment (ALSE) vests.

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