Ever since I saw the F-35 demon helmet—which gives a 360-degree spherical view of the battlefield—I have wondered how it really looks inside, for the pilot. No more: Jump to minute 3:50.
The helmet projects an augmented reality world inside its visor. This image is created by a visualisation, targeting, and situational awareness marvel called Electro Optical Distributed Aperture System, which combines the feeds from six advanced infrared digital cameras located around the aircraft and other sensors—like radar—into a seamless 360-degree spherical panorama, all in real time.
The panorama inside the helmet effectively makes the F-35 completely invisible to the pilot. In fact, he will be invisible to himself: If he looks down to his legs, he won’t see anything but the ground. He will be able to look to any direction and get a clear view of what is happening, day or night. And not only the image is crystal clear at all times, but it also gets overlaid with information from the targeting system.
The targeting and radar systems can detect any moving object in the ground or the air, identifying them it as friend or foe, as well as their direction under any conditions. It then allows the pilot to lock on one, fire, and direct the weapons towards it.
The system is apparently so advanced that Northrop Grumman—the manufacturer—goes as far as saying that it makes the F-35’s maneuverability irrelevant: “Instead of mutual kills, the F-35 simply exits the fight, and lets its missiles do the turning.” I don’t know if that will prove true in actual combat, but it doesn’t make the helmet and DAS less impressive. [Flight Global]