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The HMDS provides a range of information symbology, including off axis targeting and cueing, day/night infra-red imagery and flight information, directly onto the inside of the helmet visor. In addition, the HMDS incorporates a virtual head up display (HUD), which enables information currently restricted to forward line of sight in a cockpit panel mounted system, to be viewed wherever the pilot is looking; the F35 will in fact be the first tactical fighter jet to fly without a conventional HUD in the cockpit.
The capability of the HMDS to provide the extreme levels of accurate information and imagery to the visor is highly dependent on the precision fit, stability and comfort of the helmet unit. HISL have developed a computerized system, which scans and measures the head of the individual pilot enabling the resulting data to be used when forming the internal moldings of the helmet unit.
With the F35, the need for a comfortable ‘custom’ fitted helmet arises from the fact that the HMDS must remain securely in place, relative to the pilot’s eye line. This ensures that the precise head tracking function, whereby as the pilot turns his head they system computer recognizes the new orientation and updates the visor display imagery.