the more interesting components of the F-35 JSF is the futuristic Gen II Helmet
Mounted Display System or HMDS. The helmet displays all critical flight
information from the aircraft on the visor of the helmet rather than on a
traditional HUD like most aircraft use.
The F-35 Gen III HMDs has
many interesting features including a virtual HUD, video display that can show
feeds from cameras mounted around the aircraft, and an opto-magnetic tracker.
The helmet is also able to send the pilot feeds from night vision cameras
mounted around the aircraft rather than the pilot having to wear night vision goggles,
as is commonplace with other aircraft.
The problem with the helmets is that the video system has been error prone and
suffers from various issues that make the helmet difficult for pilots to use. Defense
News reports that among the issues with they helmet are video that
lags behind where the pilot is actually looking and images that aren’t aligned
correctly with what the pilot is seeing.
The night vision camera system also has significant issues that are more
pronounced than the video issues with the daytime-use cameras. The company that
developed the helmet for the F-35 is working to address the issues. In the near
term Vice Adm. David Venlet, JSF program chief, says that fixes might include
moving some of the imagery from the helmet to the head-down flat panel displays
and having the pilot use conventional night vision goggles.
However, Venlet says, "We're not giving up on the requirement."
The helmet developer Vision Systems International (VSI) says that it has a long-term
solution to the issues mapped out. VSI president Drew Brugal said,
"We have several engineering changes, which we have integrated in a block
Brugal also noted that some of the modifications have already been integrated
into the first two low-rate production helmets. One of the fixes for the video
issues was to slip a shim 8/1000th of an inch between the helmet shell and the
video component. Brugal says that one helmet in testing has shown significant
improvements with the modifications installed. Part of the issue with image
jitter was found to be the magnetic tracker reacting to the ejection seat
VSI notes that it has written software that will overcome some of the jitter
caused by the vibrations and in the future, it will install a small inertial
measurement unit into the helmet to reduce the issue even more. The company
hopes to eventually upgrade the helmet to color displays.
"Color is going to be incorporated into the future display. That's not
part of our road map, but as we incorporate color into our other offerings, I
would anticipate that color will part of the F-35 in the future," Brugal
The helmet was identified
as one of the problem areas of the F-35 in a Pentagon report. The
F-35A flew this week.
quote: Fixes are in the works, but short term solutions might involve heads-down displays in the cockpit
quote: a hundred million dollar plane stumped by a $1 chord failing?
quote: Doesn't it run on 11b wireless?
quote: I had thought of that, but then I thought they wouldn't use that because an enemy might eaves drop or hack into it and feed wrong information to the pilot.
quote: No I'm not going to waste my time pointing out how ignorant.
quote: hey don't be a racist fag. A lot of programmers that are good don't usually come from the US.
quote: That's some Macross technology there. Awesome!