Support: A Helmet Fit for a Jedi

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January 14, 2008: 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.

 


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