Adding to the very latest technologies that the Helmet Mounted Symbology System offers along with the night compatible cockpit, the FENN NG2000Ti goggles will provide pilots with x-ray like vision right through the night.
Night Vision Goggle trials are ongoing and demonstrate the continued efforts to integrate the latest technologies into the Typhoon system.
Nat Makepeace, Typhoon project pilot tells us about his experience from the recent night trials.
Light is required
The first thing to say about Night Vision Goggles is that they do not work in total darkness. They need some light to work, but in practice even on the darkest night in the remotest part of the world, there is normally enough light to make them work. It should also be noted that the amount of light is proportional to the performance, i.e. the picture quality, so on a moonlit night the quality of the image is amazing, but on a dark night it is grainy and hard to see any fine detail. This, amongst other reasons, is why it often takes a lot of time to test military equipment. It has to cover such a wide spectrum of use and it is important to understand the strengths and weaknesses before operational use.
So with this in mind we had to look at how they would perform in service use. As well as the tactical stuff I looked at formation flying. It’s quite odd being sat a few feet away from an aircraft that can’t see you, I was happy but the other pilot must have been thinking he was insane. We did some formation manoeuvring as well as a formation approach.
Stars in Typhoon pilots eyes
Once that was complete I had to do a climb to over 50,000 feet to make sure that the breathing system was unaffected by the changes to the helmet. At that point, even though the sun had set about two hours before, there was a beautiful glow at this height to the west with some amazing blue and purple hues. It was a very clear night and the Milky Way was easily visible, but through Night Vision Goggles it was incredible, just millions of more stars became visible, a truly amazing sight to see. It was a bonus to an otherwise routine test flight. It really did make the universe look “out of this world.”