Look down, shoot down – tactical displays now inside a fighter pilot’s helmet

by James

Helmet mounted HUD

Most fighter plane cockpits are designed with a heads up display (HUD) which projects vital information on a glass screen in front of the pilot so he can pay more attention to what goes on outside the plane and not the instruments and displays inside the plane.

Until now, that is. That’s because the F35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter – a joint endeavor from Lockheed Martin Aeronautics, Northrop Grumman, and British Aerospace – has become the first fighter aircraft in decades to be designed without a HUD. This is thanks the fighter pilot’s new, and albeit frightening, best friend, a combat helmet which uses a miniaturized version of the HUD inside the helmet itself.

The F-35 Helmet Mounted Display System (HDMS), by Vision Systems International, offers a Binocular Wide Field-of-View, Integrated day/night capability, highly accurate head tracking hardware and software, Digital image source for helmet vision display symbology, Custom helmet shell, and light weight liner and suspension system for maximum pilot comfort.

The result, the ability for the fighter pilot to “paint” multiple targets, even at extreme angles off-axis and then track them using a simple turn of the head. This allows for a tremendous tactical advantage when “dusting it up in a furball” (getting into a dogfight).

3 reviews or comments

Thumbies #70 » Coolest Gadgets Says: May 15, 2007 at 10:57 am

[…] « Look down, shoot down – tactical displays now inside a fighter pilot’s helmet […]

Raptor Says: November 14, 2007 at 10:05 am

The whole concept of this to allow a pilot to see things such as altitude, heading, orientation, targeting reticule, and AOA (angle of attack) without just having to look straight ahead.

The added ability though now allows a pilot to take the targeting reticule and place it on a fighter above, to the right, or to left and fire a missile at them accurately. This means that a pilot doesn’t have to play the cat and mouse game instead all they have to do is point their head in the direction get tone and fire.

Target users are for the US Air Force, US Navy, and US Marine Corps. As well as members of other allied military forces.

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