Warplanes: I Can See Clearly Now

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November 8,2008: Israel is buying ANVIS/HUD night vision/head up display (HUD) attachments for its UH-60 and CH-53 helicopter pilots. This device enables helicopter pilots to fly more easily at night. The night vision device has been used for decades, but the built in HUD inserts essential aircraft information so that the pilot can turn his head and not lose sight of the HUD data. This is critical for flying a helicopter at night, because the night vision device provides a narrow field of view, forcing the pilot to constantly look around. With just the night vision device, the pilot gets tired quickly, because of the need to constantly look around, and back to the control panel. The ANVIS/HUD attachment (to the helmet) only weighs a pound, which is less than some night vision devices alone.

The ANVIS/HUD is made by an Israeli firm (Elbit), and has been on the market for a decade. Over 5,000 are in use, particularly in U.S. service. But Israel has held back on buying them for all their helicopter pilots. This was apparently because of budget constraints. But now the price has come down, and Israel is more concerned about using helicopters at night, particularly in another war with Hezbollah in Lebanon.

 


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