When Milliseconds Matter™

Evolved Reefing Line Cutter.

ERLC | Reefing Line Cutter | RLC

PacSci EMC / Products / Cartridge Actuated Devices (CADs) / Evolved Reefing Line Cutter


Reefing Line Cutter


This Evolved Reefing Line Cutter (ERLC) is a mechanical lanyard pull device. The modular design allows options for time delay period up to 7.0 seconds and different guillotine configurations for severing a target. The ERLC functions with the application of a nominal 45-pound actuation force, the internal firing pin is retracted and compresses a spring. At a specified release point, the spring expands driving the firing pin assembly into a percussion primer. The percussion primer fires and ignites the time delay. After the delay, a propellant charge is activated driving a blade through the Kevlar or nylon cord target. It is capable of severing 750 LB Nylon and 750 LB Kevlar cords. The conversion to an electrically fired option is available upon request.

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  • Modular design capable of scaling in size to meet target size & multiple time delays
  • Improved housing strength prevents bending & buckling during chute packaging
  • Housing design & construction along with safety pin installation outside of firing mechanism prevents foreign object intrusion into the cutter
  • Designed with non-preloaded firing mechanism spring ensuring maximum initiation strike energy and improving reliability
  • Regulatory burdens removed by design with EAR 99 export classification and DOT/BATF non-regulated status considerations
  • Environmentally safe with reduction of lead-based materials confined to percussion primers only

What problems does our Evolved Reefing Line Cutter solve?

  • Bending/Buckling issue during parachute packing with available designs: ERLC designed with stainless steel to increase housing tensile strength 2X, 4X typical housing yield strength.
  • Available designs have multiple manufacturing techniques that introduce variability into the final product: ERLC design eliminates the variability by eliminating crimping, bonding, staking and plating operations during manufacturing production.
  • Reliability of device firing and cutting at risk with preloaded firing spring design: ERLC designed with its spring not in a preloaded condition (Meets MIL-C-25918 para, MIL-C-83124 para, & AIAA-S-113-2005 para with no primer strike energy decay. Spring is loaded when commanded by lanyard actuation.
  • Available designs are custom designed to one specific application: ERLC is capable of being scaled for multiple targets, larger or smaller, room and strength for safe output charge growth, time delay options available to 7.0 seconds and blade shear mechanism adjustability in size & configuration.
  • Foreign object intrusion into the firing mechanism and other internal components is highly probable with available designs: The ERLC design has the safety pin passing through a segregated compartment instead of through the firing mechanism. The housing and anvil are combined into one component allowing for anvil retention during blade strike and threaded and welded techniques are utilized to prevent foreign object intrusion, unlike staking or crimping actions.
  • Several available designs have export, explosive storage / transportation and environmental regulatory burdens impeding ease of shipping and storing. PSEMC specifically designed the ERLC to be a commercial product that’s not attached to a specific military platform and is Department of Commerce controlled. Additionally, the construction of the cutter is such that it will meet the requirements of non-regulated status for transportation and storage required by the DO and BATF. Our design also incorporates energetics with reduced lead content (heavy metal content in just the percussion primers) resulting in less environmental impacts.

The evolution of our ERLC

Our previous experience with Reefing Line Cutters was on the Space Shuttle to un-reef the recovery parachutes of the Solid Rocket Boosters. These cutters were quite large and had multiple time delays. We have a long history of providing guillotines / cutter and time delay devices and reefing line cutters are just a marriage of these two elements. These devices are in fixed wing and rotary platforms like F/A-18, F-15, F-16, AV-8B, T-45, H-60 Blackhawk, AW101 and many others. Currently, a design of our ERLC is being tested by Martin Baker Aircraft Company in an ejection seat Drogue Parachute.


  • Nominal Actuation Force

    45 Pounds

  • Typical Time Delay at Temperature

    -65°F – 4.5 seconds
    Ambient – 4.0 seconds
    +200°F – 3.5 seconds

  • Output Load

    + 30% of nominal load successfully tested lead free

  • Hermetic Sealing

    < 1 x 10-4 ssc/sec, Helium

  • Version

    MIL-C-87129, Type IV Kevlar

  • Estimated Weight

    < 1.0 Ounce

  • Cross-lock Threshold

    15 lbs No-Fire

  • Operating Temperature

    -65°F through +200°F

  • Severance Performance for -1

    MIL-C-7515D, Type III nylon cord

  • Specification Utilized

    MIL-C-81535A (AS), SP20157202


The Evolved Reefing Line Cutter may be tailored to fit many customized envelopes.

Reefing Line Cutter


Need more information or have a specific requirement you would like us to meet?
Email aircraftmil@psemc.com or call (831) 630-5402.

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