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MBU-12 and MBU-14 Oxygen Masks

There is much confusion about the 2 main oxygen masks used by the military pilots. One of the oxygen masks used by the military from the 1980s through now is the MBU-12/P. First introduced in 1979 and originally used by the Navy to replace the MS22001 oxygen mask. The Air Force was a little slower to follow, using the MBU-5/P through the 80s, but began using the MBU-12/P in the mid-1980s. The original 12/Ps were all green. With the introduction of the HGU-55/P in the mid to late 1980s, they began to manufacture the MBU-12/P in all gray to match the helmet. There was a problem, however, with the early gray oxygen masks. The gray pigment had an adverse affect on the integrity and durability of the oxygen mask hose. The gray hoses would begin to deteriorate and were commonly changed on the first or second inspection with one of the older green hoses. This is why you will sometimes see an oxygen mask with a gray facepiece and a green hose. By the 1990s, they had fixed the hose pigment problem, so most recent oxygen masks will be seen with gray facepiece, gray hose. The Air Force oxygen mask is designated MBU-12/P, while the Naval mask, using the same basic parts as the MBU-12/P (facepiece, hose, microphone, straps & bayonet clips), is re-designated MBU-14/P, 15/P, 17/P, etc; all depending on what parts are used. We will only discuss the MBU-12/P and MBU-14/P here.  

We have Oxygen Masks and Oxygen Mask Parts available for sale:
  Oxygen Masks
  Oxygen Mask Hose Fittings
  CRU Chest Mounted Regulators and Parts
  Oxygen Mask Communications, Mics and Cords

The Air Force MBU-12/P is equipped with 3 pin connector (hooks into the CRU-60/P), coiled communications cord, communications block connector, microphone, straps with offset bayonet clips (for helmet attachment). The MBU-12/P is used basically on all Air Force tactical aircraft like the AF F-4 Phantom, F-15 Eagle, early F-16 Falcons*, and more.

The Naval MBU-14/P is equipped with some special equipment that is for use only in Navy aircraft. The Navy aircraft use a high-pressure oxygen to operate many systems and perform several functions on the jet, one of these functions is to provide the aircrew with pressure demand oxygen. To do this, the pressure must be regulated, so the Navy MBU-14/P oxygen mask is equipped with a "mini-regulator" designated CRU-79/P. The CRU-79/P has been made by many different manufacturers from Firewel and Robert Shaw, to Sabre. They have been made out of cast metal, aluminum, and carbon fiber. A high pressure hose leads from the aircraft system to the CRU-79, this is called the lower REDAR hose. Called REDAR because of its maker, R.E. Darling. Typically, the CRU-79 and lower REDAR hose is referred to simply as "REDAR." To secure the REDAR system, the CRU-79 would be placed in a zippered "boot" or pouch and velcroed and snapped to the SV-2B survival vest. Even when secured in this way, the CRU-79 did have a tendency to break loose on ejection and strike the crewmember in the face or helmet**. The Navy also felt the aircrews needed some extra insurance that the microphones would not short out in the oxygen masks during stressful times like landing on a pitching deck of an aircraft carrier or during ACM (air combat maneuvers). For this reason, the 14/P mask has an audio amplifier built into the communications block connector.  The only difference between the MBU-12/P and the 14/P is the REDAR system and the audio amplifier. The MBU-14/P is used on aircraft like the USN F-4 Phantom, F-14 Tomcat, F/A-18 Hornet, T-45, and more.

*Current F-16s use the MBU-20/P Combat Edge mask
**
The Navy now uses a chest mounted regulator that is riveted to the torso harness and uses a 3 pin quick disconnect fitting


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