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).