Monday, October 14, 2013

DoD settles on F-35 helmet design

I recently gave you a helmet update which, at the time, said that the development of the alternative helmet would continue, but that good progress had been made in the original design.  Well apparently more than "good progress" is apparent as DoD had decided to drop development of the alternative according to
The Pentagon decides to put on hold the F-35 helmet development in order to further mature the Rockwell Collins-Elbit Systems’ America Vision Systems Generation 2 helmet currently used in training and testing.
The helmet they're continuing to "mature" is the original design which was suffering from some problems such as latency and night vision acuity.  But, according to the Wall Street Journal:
The Pentagon now regards the technical issues as having been resolved, while the competition from the rival BAE offering helped secure a cost guarantee from Lockheed that is 12% lower than the previous helmet price.

The F-35 oversight team also said it would save the $45 million earmarked for BAE to continue work on adapting its helmet—which is already operational on some other jets. 
So it is full speed ahead on the original design with an added savings of $45 million to the program.

Something else to note, that could get lost in the shuffle:
Beginning with aircraft in Low Rate Initial Production lot 7, the program will introduce a Gen 3 helmet that features an improved night vision camera, new liquid crystal displays, automated alignment and software enhancements.
Right now, the helmet is "Generation 2".  With LRIP 7, the most recent contract that Lockheed Martin executed with DoD, the "Generation 3" version of the helmet will go operational.  Everything I've read says the Gen 2 helmet is more than adequate for Marine Corps IOC date.

Finally, in case you wondered:
"To date, more than 100 F-35 pilots have flown more than 6,000 flights and 10,000 hours with the helmet, and their feedback has been very positive."


1 comment:

  1. Nah, you got it all wrong. The fact that an Israeli company is partnering with an American company (neither of which is Lockheed Martin) to produce the helmet just indicates that LockMart "bought" Israel.