The 2.25kg headsets on the helmet of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (known as Lightning II by the RAF) cost £400,000 each
A new fighter pilot’s helmet which will be used by RAF pilots projects computerised screens directly in front of their eyes - in the style of Iron Man.
The 2.25kg headsets on the helmet of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (known as Lightning II by the RAF) cost £400,000 each.
They are arguably the most expensive headwear ever designed - and two Lightning II's are under test by the RAF right now.
Pilots have to be ‘fitted’ for the virtual reality helmets, which project informtion onto a screen millimetres from the pilot’s eyes, in a process lasting up to four hours.
The result is that wherever a pilot looks inside the cockpit, they can still see computer-assisted information such as targeting - much like the display inside the fictional Iron Man’s suit.
The helmet’s display also allows pilots to ‘look through’ the floor of the cockpit as if it was transparent - using cameras on the outside of the aircraft, and virtual reality tech.
The optics inside the helmet have to be aligned to within two millimetres of the exact centre of the pilot’s pupils - so once the helmet is built, no other flyer can wear it.
‘The pilot sees a beautiful God's eye view of what's going on,’ said U.S. Air Force General Mike Hostage. ‘It's a stunning amount of information.’
The exact amount of information seen by the pilot is classified - but pilots see a constant stream of information from six Distributed Aperture System sensors on the outside of the aicraft.
The RAF describes the pilot’s ability to see computerised displays from any angle as ‘360 degree situational awareness is aided by the Electro-Optical Distributed Aperture System.’