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F35 Helmet at RAF Boscombe Down

THE JOINT STRIKE FIGHTER (F35) HELMET

 Joint Strike Fighter Helmet

The RAF have commenced flight testing of a next generation aircrew helmet being developed for the Lockheed Martin F35 Lightning II, also known as the Joint Strike Fighter, which is due to enter service with the RAF and the Royal Navy during the next decade.

Helmet Integrated Systems Ltd (HISL) have been contracted by Vision Systems International (VSI) to develop the helmet unit as the platform for an advanced Helmet Mounted Display System (HMDS) being manufactured by VSI.

The HMDS provides a range of information symbology, including off axis targeting and cueing, day/night infra-red imagery, and flight information, directly onto the inside of the helmet visor. In addition, the HMDS incorporates a virtual head up display (HUD), which enables information currently restricted to forward line of sight in a cockpit panel mounted system, to be viewed wherever the pilot is looking; the F35 will in fact be the first tactical fighter jet to fly without a conventional HUD in the cockpit.

The capability of the HMDS to provide the extreme levels of accurate information and imagery to the visor is highly dependent on the precision fit, stability and comfort of the helmet unit. HISL have developed a computerised system, which scans and measures the head of the individual pilot enabling the resulting data to be used when forming the internal mouldings of the helmet unit.

UK military pilots using HISL’s current aircrew helmets are measured to fit a range of pre-sized helmets, which can then be adjusted to the individual’s head. Combined with the need for a comfortable fit, the helmet also has to remain secure on the pilot’s head during high g manoeuvres, in the event of emergency in flight seat ejection

With the F35, the need for a comfortable ‘custom’ fitted helmet, arises from the fact that the HMDS must remain securely in place, relative to the pilot’s eye line. This ensures that the precise head tracking function, whereby as the pilot turns his head the system computer recognises the new orientation and updates the visor display imagery with near zero latency, is not compromised by helmet movement.

HISL currently supply aircrew helmets to over 60 air arms worldwide, and continue to extend the materials, operational and anthropometrics experience gained on projects such as the HMDS helmet unit, into the advancement of helmet technology across their product range.

For further details contact:Bob GaskellHelmet Integrated Systems LtdTel: +44 (0) 1462 478014 Fax: +44 (0) 1462 478010Email: bgaskell@helmets.co.uk

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