An Israeli firm
(Elbit) has come out with a helmet-mounted display system for helicopter
pilots. Called JedEyes, it introduces higher resolution (2250x1200 pixels) and
wider field of view (up to 70 degrees). JedEyes has lots of other bells and
whistles, like picture-in-picture (fixed, pop-up, or space stabilized) and 3-D
graphics. JedEyes is also lighter and easier to wear (for long periods) than
earlier "smart helmets."
Pilot helmets have been getting much
smarter over the past decade. The U.S. JHMCS ( Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing
Systems), has been adopted by thousands of U.S. Air Force and Navy F-16, F-18
and F-15 pilots. A similar system will be used by F-22 and F-35 pilots.
JHMCS, like JedEyes, allows a pilot to
see displayed on his visor, critical flight and navigation information. Sort of
like a see-through computer monitor or Head Up Display. Most importantly, the
pilot can turn his head towards a target, get an enemy aircraft into the
crosshairs displayed on the visor, and fire a missile that will promptly go
after target the pilot was looking at. There is an additional advantage in
letting the pilot look around more often without having to look down at cockpit
displays, or straight ahead at a HUD (Head Up Display.) This kind of freedom
gives an experienced pilot an extra edge in finding enemy aircraft or targets,
and maneuvering to get into a better position for attacks. JHMCS is also useful
for air to ground attacks, which JedEyes specializes in.
Systems like JHMCS have been around for
over a decade, but JHMCS is lighter and easier to wear (weight was a major
problem in the past), easier to use and more reliable. JedEyes takes these
features still farther. The Israelis firm Elbit took the lead in developing
this technology, and made many technical breakthroughs with their earlier DASH
(Display and Sight Helmet) system. Elbit teamed up with American firms to
develop and market JHMCS, which is largely an improved DASH system.