Boeing recently validated the integration of the next-generation joint helmet-mounted cueing system II/h (JHMCS II/h) on the company’s F-15 Silent Eagle demonstrator aircraft, continuing the on-schedule development of this advanced multi-role jet fighter.
The JHMCS II/h allows a pilot to aim sensors and weapons wherever he or she is looking, through the use of new headtracking technology and a display projected onto the helmet’s visor. Produced by Vision Systems International (VSI), this system provides significantly improved ergonomics and reliability, at lower cost, than VSI’s prior JHMCS system. A recent flight in St. Louis demonstrated the system’s enhancements and collected baseline data for the headtracking technology.
“Both pilots who flew with the JHMCS II/h system immediately noticed that the helmet was more balanced and the smaller, lighter interface cable was less restrictive,” said Greg Hardy, Boeing JHMCS programme manager.
The new head-tracking technology is significantly easier to maintain while requiring less support equipment than previous trackers. Electronics enhancements enable all processing to be done within the helmet, eliminating most aircraft-mounted equipment, which also contributes to the system’s overall cost savings.
The system provides an easy transition in flight between day and night modes, greatly increasing mission flexibility. VSI also used maturing display and tracking technologies to reduce the complexity of integrating the JHMCS II/h system on an aircraft, an approach that was validated during the demonstration.
“Integrating this enhanced system onto the Silent Eagle took less than three months between ‘go-ahead’ and first flight,” said Hardy. “This timeline was achievable because of the dedication of the industry team, the simplicity of the physical and logical integration, and the long history Boeing and VSI share on the JHMCS programme.”
“Technology advancements are reshaping the military helmet-mounted display market,” said Phil King, President of VSI. “The rapid validation of the maturity and effectiveness of several such technologies in this demonstration programme has shown that we can meet and exceed the performance baselines established by the extremely successful legacy JHMCS design while also providing new capabilities and reducing cost to the customer.”