NOT JUST A ‘TALK­ING HAT’…

Pilot - - SPECIAL FEATURE -

The pilot of a Light­ning II wears a very so­phis­ti­cated hel­met, which in­cor­po­rates a Hel­met Mounted Dis­play sys­tem, or HMD. Made pre­dom­i­nantly from Kevlar and weigh­ing less than two kilo­grammes (in­clud­ing the oxy­gen mask), the hel­met features ac­tive noise re­duc­tion and a unit which pro­vides the pilot with an ‘out of the canopy dis­play’ which en­sures that the pilot is con­tin­u­ally looking out­side in a tac­ti­cal sit­u­a­tion. Fur­ther­more the on­board in­te­grated sys­tem presents ‘fused’ data from all the sen­sors and data links onto the PCD in such a way that a pilot’s sit­u­a­tional aware­ness is en­hanced to un­heard-of lev­els, while si­mul­ta­ne­ously fil­ter­ing out un­nec­es­sary in­for­ma­tion and pri­ori­tis­ing threats and targets. Sit­u­a­tional aware­ness is fur­ther en­hanced by a voice com­mand sys­tem that is­sues threat warn­ing mes­sages from the di­rec­tion of the threat, while the air­craft’s data fu­sion en­gine and the pilot-air­craft in­ter­face au­to­mat­i­cally dis­play air and sur­face targets on the HMD. As the re­quire­ments of operating a stealthy air­craft on the mod­ern bat­tle­field are quite con­tra­dic­tory (emis­sions and trans­mis­sions need to be brief, ex­tremely di­rec­tional and to­wards friendly re­ceivers) while net­worked op­er­a­tions with nu­mer­ous friendly plat­forms re­quire mul­ti­ple emis­sions and a lot of band­width the F-35 will even­tu­ally have satel­lite com­mu­ni­ca­tion tech­nol­ogy.

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