Thursday, November 1, 2012

F-35 helmet update - 2 problems down, 1 to go

Given recent statements by Lockheed Martin VP Tom Burbage, it appears that most of the problems that the F-35's advanced helmet have suffered have been solved or are well on their way to being solved:
Lockheed Martin Corp said on Tuesday that it was making progress on resolving technical issues facing the cutting-edge helmet being developed for use by F-35 fighter pilots, and it cited positive initial reports from night flight tests of the system.

Lockheed Martin Executive Vice President Tom Burbage said that night vision performance was the "only real question" left on the helmet, which was designed by a joint venture of Rockwell Collins Inc and Israel's Elbit Systems to display all the information F-35 pilots need to fly the plane.
There were three key problems with the helmet this past spring.  Latency, jitter and night vision resolution.  If "night vision performance" is the "only real question" left, one must assume that the latency and jitter problems have been solved.  Neither was considered a show stopper and there was a report recently that the latency problem was well within standard now and that the "micro-IMUs" were being tested for jitter..
In the latest simulations, the device demonstrated a latency of only 130 milliseconds, against a 150-millisecond requirement. ... The “micro-IMUs” (inertial measurement units) that are designed to solve the “jitter” problem are already in-flight-test.
If you recall, that same report said that  "a new near-infrared camera to improve night-vision acuity is being tested at MIT Lincoln Laboratories and will be flight-tested next year. "

As mentioned, none of the problems were ever considered insurmountable, but more of an engineering challenge.  It appears that 2 of the 3 challenges have been met with the third well on the way to resolution.

Good news for the program.


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