Senator Joni Ernst, Lockheed Martin and Rockwell Collins executives commemorated the delivery of the first Gen III F-35 Helmet Mounted Display System (HMDS) on August 11. In addition to the HMDS, the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II demonstrator was on site at the Cedar Rapids headquarters of Rockwell Collins for Senator Ernst to get a first-hand experience of «flying» the military’s most advanced fighter jet following the delivery ceremony.
Rockwell Collins, through its joint venture, Rockwell Collins ESA Vision Systems LLC, is providing the most advanced technology for warfighters with the F-35 HMDS, which provides pilots with unprecedented levels of situational awareness and allows them to «look through» the airframe.
«Today’s visit was an opportunity to place focus on Rockwell Collins, as manufacturing makes up such an important part of our economy here in Iowa», said Senator Ernst. «Having served in the military for over 20 years, I appreciate the company’s efforts in support of our national defense, our armed forces and our veterans».
«We’re pleased to be able to demonstrate the advanced capabilities of the F-35 Lightning II at Rockwell Collins today to Senator Ernst and members of the Cedar Rapids community», said Steve Callaghan, director, F-35 Lightning II Program, Lockheed Martin Washington Operations. «The employees at Rockwell Collins are contributing to the F-35s flying today, and we’re pleased to have the opportunity to showcase the superior performance capabilities of this aircraft with them».
The Gen III helmet, which includes an improved night vision camera, improved liquid-crystal displays, automated alignment and software improvements is to be introduced to the fleet in Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) Lot 7 in 2016. Rockwell Collins ESA Vision Systems LLC also developed the Gen 2 helmet that F-35 pilots currently use, which met the needs for the U.S. Marine Corps and will allow the service to declare Initial Operational Capability (IOC).
All the information that pilots need to complete their missions – through all weather, day or night – is projected on the helmet’s visor. Additionally, the F-35’s Distributed Aperture System (DAS), made by Northrop Grumman, streams real-time imagery from six infrared cameras mounted around the aircraft to the helmet, allowing pilots to «look through» the airframe.
Overall, Rockwell Collins has built and fit more than 200 helmets for F-35 pilots who are being trained for the program.
Helmet Mounted Display System
Pilots flying missions in the F-35 Lightning II and other multi-role tactical aircraft now can have unmatched visual capability. The F-35 Gen III Helmet Mounted Display System provides a next-generation user interface that integrates the F-35 pilot more tightly than ever into the aircraft’s avionics, with more than 10,000 flight hours of operational use.
The system gives F-35 pilots unsurpassed situational awareness by displaying critical flight information and sensor video throughout the entire mission. The HMDS serves as the virtual head-up display, enabling the F-35 to become the first tactical fighter in 50 years without a traditional head-up display.
By fully integrating three advanced technologies – head-up display, helmet-mounted display and visor-projected night vision – the F-35 Gen III HMDS provides revolutionary capability to the fighter cockpit.
- Provides enhanced situational awareness
- Integrated, virtual head-up display on the helmet visor for critical flight and mission information with a smooth transition to HMD symbology
- Night vision capability built into the helmet
- Lightweight helmet with optimal center of gravity for maximum comfort and reduced pilot fatigue
- Provides weapons targeting by looking at and designating targets, and target verification when receiving steering cues from onboard sensors or via datalink
- Binocular, 30-by-40-degree wide-field-of-view with 100 percent overlap
- Virtual head-up display
- Look-through-aircraft capability via Distributed Aperture System imagery
- High accuracy tracking with auto-boresighting
- Active Noise Reduction (ANR)
- Digital night vision sensor
- Ejection capability to 550 KEAS
- Lightweight and well-balanced helmet
- Custom helmet liner for precise fit and comfort
- Multiple Interpupillary Distance (IPD) settings
- Video recording
- Picture in picture
- Compatible with eyeglasses and Laser Eye Protection (LEP) devices