More from the AIN article cited yesterday, this time about the helmet:
Meanwhile, the F-35 program is continuing the development of two different helmet-mounted display systems (HMDS) from Vision Systems International (VSI) and BAE Systems after encountering problems with the original VSI system. While Lockheed Martin has reported progress in fixing the VSI system, the two systems will compete in a “fly off,” after which the program will choose one HMDS. Bogdan said there is a business calculation in resolving HMDS problems before making a final selection. Bogdan told Vanity Fair, “Lockheed Martin would very much like to influence my decision-making here in favor of the [VSI] helmet. I’m not letting them do that.” He told the magazine that the BAE helmet costs “$100,000 to $150,000 less.” According to Vanity Fair, the VSI helmet costs $500,000.You have to chuckle a little about that - it would be rather strange for any contractor not to try to convince a decision maker to take their product. However, it appears that the problems that have been noted about the helmet have/are being addressed. Frankly, I don't care which one wins as long as they're equally capable. That has yet to be determined and I think a "fly off" is probably a good idea. Let the pilots do the rating - after all they have to live with the result.