Military Embedded Systems

F-35 Gen III Helmet Mounted Display System delivered for software integration to Lockheed Martin


July 21, 2014

John McHale

Editorial Director

Military Embedded Systems

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa. Lockheed Martin officials received delivery of the Rockwell Collins ESA Vision Systems, LLC, Gen III Helmet Mounted Display System (HMDS) for software integration into the F-35 Lightning II jet fighter. The helmet will be integrated into Low Rate Initial Production 7 for the F-35 program.

“This helmet is the first to have a fully integrated head-up display, enabling pilots to get all the critical data they need on the helmet’s visor, says Phil Jasper, executive vice president and chief operating officer, Government Systems, for Rockwell Collins. Pilots who have flown with the system reported faster responses and reduced workload, he adds.

The HMD has a biocular 40x30 degrees field-of-view, high brightness, and high resolution display, with integrated digital night vision. The HMDS displays the Distributed Aperture System (DAS) imagery from Northrop Grumman, which provides pilots with 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.

It is a lightweight HMD, with an optimized center of gravity for maximum comfort to reduce pilot fatigue. The Gen III design has improved optics, image device, and backlight, along with enhanced head tracking capability and a next generation Night Vision Camera, enabling equivalent performance to ANVIS-9 NVGs.

So far, 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.

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 in Fort Worth, Texas. Rockwell Collins is responsible for the overall HMDS performance and the helmet mounted display components while Elbit is responsible for the night vision cameras, helmet tracking, and display processing components.


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