Modern Fighter Pilot Flight Helmets   Leave a comment


A flight helmet, sometimes nicknamed a “bone dome”, is a special type of helmet primarily worn by military aircrew.

A flight helmet can provide:

  • Impact protection to reduce the risk of head injury (e.g. in the event of a parachute landing) and protection from wind blast (e.g. in the event of ejection).
  • A visor to shield the eyes from sunlight, flash and laser beams.
  • Noise attenuation, headphones and a microphone (except when included in a mask).
  • A helmet mounted display, mounting for night vision goggles and/or a helmet tracking system (so the aircraft knows where the pilot is looking).

helmet nasa

SR-71 Blackbird pilot helmet. The plane flew so fast and high that the helmet resembles a space helmet.

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helmet blackbird

helmet blackbird1

The Soviet (Russian) MIG-25 Foxbat also flew very high and fast.

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helmet soviet mig 25

Chinese helmet variations

helmet chinese

U.S. Navy helmet

helmet us navy

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F/A-18 Super Hornet carrier pilots

070525-N-0890S-021 PERSIAN GULF (May 25, 2007) - Lt. Cmdr. John Depree and Lt. j.g. David Dufault, both assigned to the "Black Aces" of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 41, go over pre-flight checks prior to launch aboard nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68). Nimitz Carrier Strike Group and embarked Carrier Air Wing 11 are deployed to 5th Fleet conducting maritime operations and supporting the global war on terrorism. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice David L. Smart (RELEASED)

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F-22 Raptor pilot helmet

helmet usaf

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U.S. Marine Corp Harrier pilots always wear camo helmets

helmet us marines

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helmets marines

U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds demo team

Mixed martial artist champion, Ronda Rousey, adjusts her flight mask in preparation for her Thunderbird F-16 Fighting Falcon flight at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., Nov. 9, 2012. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Larry E. Reid Jr., Released)

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Royal Canadian Air Force

helmets canada

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F-35 Lightning II

helmet f-35

Each helmet costs $400,000!

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Vision Systems International (VSI; the Elbit Systems/Rockwell Collins joint venture) along with Helmet Integrated Systems, Ltd. developed the Helmet-Mounted Display System (HMDS) for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft. In addition to standard Helmet Mounted Display (HMD) capabilities offered by other systems, HMDS fully utilizes the advanced avionics architecture of the F-35 and provides the pilot video with imagery in day or night conditions. Consequently, the F-35 is the first tactical fighter jet in 50 years to fly without a HUD. A BAE Systems helmet was considered when HMDS development was experiencing significant problems, but these issues were eventually worked out. The Helmet-Mounted Display System was fully operational and ready for delivery in July 2014.

The F-35 does not need to be physically pointing at its target for weapons to be successful. Sensors can track and target a nearby aircraft from any orientation, provide the information to the pilot through their helmet (and therefore visible no matter which way the pilot is looking), and provide the seeker-head of a missile with sufficient information. Recent missile types provide a much greater ability to pursue a target regardless of the launch orientation, called “High Off-Boresight” capability. Sensors use combined radio frequency and infra red (SAIRST) to continually track nearby aircraft while the pilot’s helmet-mounted display system (HMDS) displays and selects targets; the helmet system replaces the display-suite-mounted head-up display used in earlier fighters. Each helmet costs $400,000.

The F-35’s systems provide the edge in the “observe, orient, decide, and act” OODA loop; stealth and advanced sensors aid in observation (while being difficult to observe), automated target tracking helps in orientation, sensor fusion simplifies decision making, and the aircraft’s controls allow the pilot to keep their focus on the targets, rather than the controls of their aircraft.

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And Lastly

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Posted October 30, 2015 by markosun in Uncategorized

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