Gen III F-35 Helmet

Rockwell Collins has delivered the first Gen III F-35 helmet mounted display system (HMDS) to Lockheed Martin.

The system is designed to provide warfighters with unprecedented levels of situational awareness and also allows them to ‘look through’ the airframe.

Lockheed Martin Washington Operations F-35 Program director Steve Callaghan said: "We’re pleased to be able to demonstrate the advanced capabilities of the F-35 Lightning II at Rockwell Collins today to Sen. Ernst and members of the Cedar Rapids community.

"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."

Developed by Rockwell Collins ESA Vision Systems, the Gen III helmet features night vision camera enhanced night vision camera, liquid-crystal displays as well as software improvements.

The system is expected to be introduced to the fleet in low-rate initial production Lot 7 in 2016.

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"We’re pleased to have the opportunity to showcase the superior performance capabilities of this aircraft with them."

According to Rockwell Collins, the helmet’s visor provides all the information that pilots need to complete their missions.

In addition, the helmet will be able to access real-time imagery from six infrared cameras mounted around the aircraft with the support of Northrop’s distributed aperture system (DAS).

Currently, F-35 pilots use Rockwell Collins’ Gen 2 helmet, which fulfils the requirements of the US Marine Corps and will allow the service to declare initial operational capability.

Rockwell Collins has manufactured and fit more than 200 helmets so far for F-35 pilots who are currently being trained for the programme.

Image: Gen III F-35 helmet mounted display system allows pilots to "look through" the airframe. Photo: courtesy of Business Wire.