F-35 Helmet Delivered for Software Integration

The Rockwell Collins ESA Vision Systems, LLC, Gen III Helmet Mounted Display System (HMDS), which provides unprecedented situational awareness for fighter pilots, has been delivered to Lockheed Martin for software integration into the F-35 Lightning II aircraft. The Gen III HMDS will be integrated into Low Rate Initial Production 7 for the F-35 program.

The F-35 Gen II HMD will be demonstrated at the Rockwell Collins booth (Hall 4, Stand F9) at the Farnborough Air Show this week.

“This helmet changes the paradigm for the display of information to fighter pilots,” said Phil Jasper, executive vice president and chief operating officer, Government Systems, for Rockwell Collins. “It is the first to have a fully integrated head-up display, which gives pilots all the critical information they need on the helmet’s visor. Pilots who have flown this new system have provided positive feedback about their ability to respond faster with reduced workload, resulting in an enhanced ability to complete missions successfully.

“The HMDS provides F-35 pilots with the most advanced digital night vision and head tracking capabilities available today,” said Raanan Horowitz, president and chief executive officer, Elbit Systems of America. “Providing an accurate and readable virtual HUD with high resolution night vision, combined with low latency, is essential to the execution of the F-35 complex missions during day and night operations.”

The state-of-the-art HMD features a biocular 40×30 degrees field-of-view, high brightness and high resolution display, with integrated digital night vision. When fully integrated with the aircraft sensors and systems, the HMDS provides the F-35 pilot with unparalleled situational awareness. The HMDS displays the Distributed Aperture System (DAS) imagery from Northrop Grumman, which gives pilots the ability to see through the structure of the aircraft for a 360-degree view as well as a direct picture of the ground beneath them.

The system provides a lightweight HMD, with optimized center of gravity and maximum comfort for reduced pilot fatigue. Everything about the F-35 Gen III HMDS is designed to enhance the fighter pilot’s precision, efficiency and safety, while reducing the overall cost of the program. The Gen III design includes improved optics, image device and backlight, along with enhanced head tracking capability and the next generation Night Vision Camera, providing equivalent performance to ANVIS-9 NVGs.

The F-35 HMDS is provided by Rockwell Collins ESA Vision Systems, LLC, a joint venture between Rockwell Collins and Elbit Systems Ltd. of Israel, through its U.S. subsidiary Elbit Systems of America, of Fort Worth, Texas. Rockwell Collins is responsible for the overall HMDS performance and the helmet mounted display components and Elbit is responsible for the Night Vision Cameras, helmet tracking and display processing components.

To date, more than 160 HMDS units have been delivered to Lockheed Martin. The HMDS has logged more than 15,000 hours of test flights on the F-35.

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