According to Defense News, “Marking a milestone for the joint strike fighter program, Rockwell Collins this week delivered the first Generation 3 helmet for the F-35.
The Generation 3 Helmet-Mounted Display System (HMDS), which was handed over to the Joint Program Office Tuesday in a ceremony at the company’s headquarters in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, is crucial to the F-35’s advanced suite of technologies. It provides a 360-degree digital view of what’s going on around the aircraft, essentially letting the pilot “look through” the cockpit floor and walls. All the information pilots need to complete their missions is projected on the helmet’s visor.
Developed and built by the Rockwell Collins ESA Vision Systems joint venture, the new helmet includes an improved night vision camera, improved liquid-crystal displays, and automated alignment and software upgrades, according to an Aug. 11 company statement. The Gen 3 helmet will be introduced to the fleet as part of the low-rate initial production lot 7 in 2016.”
The new helmet improves the situational awareness for the pilot, enabling him to see his environment in a more robust fashion rather than confining his vision to a small, forward-looking crystal display. And, as the test pilot in this accompany video indicates, it gives the pilot better interoperability with his wingmen, thereby enabling them to work as a team rather than individual weapons platforms. The new helmet will be used across all three versions of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.