What exactly does a helmet-mounted display do?
A helmet-mounted display, or HMD, considerably increases a fighter’s offensive capabilities, since it allows the pilot to designate a target by simply looking at it, thus directing the air-to-air missile’s sensors and seeker. It goes far beyond the field-of-view covered by a conventional head-up display, without any other limit than the pilot’s ability to turn his head under G loads. Of course, the helmet continues to provide physiological protection, and it can also be used to designate ground targets, by displaying geo-referenced points, or by pre-pointing the sensors. The visor is specially treated to display flight and fire control symbology.
Helmet Mounted Display and Sight Systems
Helmet Display and Sight technologies developed by Elbit Systems has become a necessity in modern air warfare. With over 5,500 systems delivered to customers worldwide, Elbit is now positioned as the world leader in this market.
Israel’s DASH HMD became the basis for the U.S. Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System (JHMCS)
was the company’s first integrated helmet mounted display and sight system, already operating with over 500 aircraft such as F-15, F-18, F-5 and MiG-21. DASH is measuring the pilot’s line of sight (LOS), slaving missiles and sensors to the target, DASH also brings displays to the pilot’s eye-level and informs the pilot of target location, while integrating all modes of operation with Hands On Throttle And Stick (HOTAS) controls.
fixed wing Helmet Mounted Display (HMD) technology provides the basis for the U.S. Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System (JHMCS) program. Through the joint venture with Kaiser Electronics, Vision Systems International Inc (VSI) is equipping all frontline U.S. fighters (F-16, F/A-18, F-15 and F-22) with the advanced helmet mounted display and sight. Additionally, VSI was selected by Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company to be its HMD source for the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF).
The French thrust vectoring Matra MBDA MICA missile for its Rafale and late model Mirage 2000 fighters was accompanied by the Topsight HMD by Sextant Avionique
TopNight, a Topsight derivative, is designed specifically for adverse weather and night air to ground operations, employing more complex optics to project infrared imagery overlaid with symbology. The most recent version the Topsight has been designated TopOwl-F, and is qualified on rafale,mirage-2000-5 mk2, mig-29k.
Sweden’s JAS 39 Gripen fighter utilizes the Cobra HMD, developed by BAE Systems, Denel Optronics of South Africa, and Saab. It has been exported to the South African Air Force
Eurofighter Helmet Mounted Symbology System
The Eurofighter utilizes the Helmet Mounted Symbology System (HMSS) developed by British Aerospace and Pilkington Optronics
Helmet Mounted Display System
Vision Systems International (VSI), along with Elbit Systems, Rockwell Collins, and Helmet Integrated Systems, Ltd. developed the Helmet Mounted Display System (HMDS) for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft
ZSh-5 / Shchel-3UM
The Russian designed Shchel-3UM HMD design is fit to the ZSh-5 series helmet, and is used on the MiG-29 and Su-27 in conjunction with the AA-11 Archer. The HMD/Archer combination gave the MiG-29 and Su-27 a significantly improved close combat capability and quickly became the most widely deployed HMD in the worl
Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System (JHMCS)
JHMCS is a derivative of the DASH III and the Kaiser Agile Eye HMDs
Gentex Corporation Introduced the Scorpion Helmet Mounted Cueing System to the military aviation market in 2008. Scorpion has the distinction of being the first color HMD introduced
JedEyes TM is a new system recently introduced by Elbit Systems especially to meet Apache and other rotary wing platform requirements.
(Modular Integrated Display And Sight Helmet) allows helicopter pilots to fly head out day and night while receiving flight mission information and weapon targeting symbology using the pilot's line of sight tracking system.
a modular day/night HMD provides attack, assault and utility helicopter pilots with wide fields of view (FOV), see-through binocular night imagery, flight information and LOS cueing for day and night operation.
Advanced Helmet Systems:
The South African “Archer” helmet mounted display
(top) uses light emitting diodes to track pilot head position in order to target weapons. The Cigong Group helmet sight seen a the 2004 Zhuhai show used a similar head tracking system. Any potential South African help with new PLA AAMs likely included the sale of advanced helmet display technology. Source: Denel and RD Fisher
PL-9C and HMS: It is not clear that the PL-9C AAM with the TK-14 helmet sight is in widespread PLA service, an indication that the PLA was instead waiting for a more advanced short-range AAM. Source: RD Fisher
Helmet Mounted Sight (HMS) and the Chinese HMS
Though the exact type of the helmet mounted sights for JF-17 is yet to be determined, the HMS will be standard. JF-17 is compatible with a wide range of HMS, and its HMS will be at least equal or better than the HMS offered for J-7E/F-7PG, which first appeared in 2002 at air show and various defense / electronics exhibitions such as CIDEX held in China. According to the staff from the developing firms and their advertise at these exhibitions, the HMS offered for J-7E/F-7PG is already better than the latest Russian HMS available on the export market in that the Chinese HMS is specifically designed to improve the performance of the Russian system, and it outperforms its Russian counterparts including ASP-AVD-21, Shchel series, Sura series in various fields:
* In comparison to the original standard Russian ASP-PVD-21 HMS onboard the MiG-29 and Flanker family, the field of view of the Chinese HMS for J-7E/F-7PGis +/- 90 degrees, which is far greater than the mere +/- 8 degrees of the Russian ASP-PVD-21 HMS.
* In comparison to the latest Russian HMS available with +/- 60 degrees of field of view, the Chinese HMS for J-7E/F-7PG still enjoys much greater field of view at +/- 90 degrees.
* The elevation of the latest Russian HMS designed to replace the original ASP-PVD-21 HMS onboard MiG-29 and Flanker family is only +/- 40 degrees, while in contrast, the Chinese HMS for J-7E/F-7PG is already +/- 45 degrees.
* The Chinese HMS for J-7E/F-7PG already had higher reliability than the Russian HMS.
* The Chinese HMS for J-7E/F-7PG are easier and much cheaper to manufacture than its Russian counterparts.
Although the Chinese HMS for J-7E/F-7PGhas already enjoyed numerous advantages over the latest Russian HMS developed later, it still might not be the final type of HMS selected for JF-17, because even as the Chinese HMS for J-7E/F-7PG was first revealed in 2002, the Chinese manufacturers such as the 613th Institute had already started the development of newer HMS designed to replace the HMS for J-7E/F-7PG. Three major Chinese manufacturers, XBOE, the 613th Institute, and LuoyangOptoelectro Technology Development Center have already developed a variety of HMS systems with improvements including the adaptation of common attachments and power sources so that all night vision goggles and HMS are interchangeable, without the need to replace the entire system. The weight would be further reduced from the 200 grams weight of the Chinese HMS for J-7E/F-7PG, while the performance is further increased (mainly in the increase of elevation angles). While it cannot be confirmed the claims by various sources that the more advanced Chinese HMS onboard Chengdu J-10developed from HMS onboard the J-7E/F-7PGwould be selected for JF-17, the aircraft is certainly compatible with the more advanced Chinese HMS onboard Chengdu J-10
A HMD/S such as the Guardian or the Cobra with a HOBS missile would also be something the PAF is likely to be looking at