Pulse news magazine

Volume 17, September 2016

Rochester's technicolor dream helmet

A fighter jet pilot wears Electronic Systems’ Striker II ® helmet–mounted display.
Striker® II hits the mark again at this year’s Farnborough International Airshow, as Electronic Systems’ Rochester, England, team unveiled the latest enhancement – high-resolution color capability.

Striker® II is a fully digital color HMD providing today’s pilot with a seamless day/night display via the inclusion of an integrated digital night vision camera – removing the need for cumbersome night-vision goggles.

With the latest advancement of high-resolution colour, the system can display blue or red symbols to identify friend or foe targets – helping to reduce pilot workload in the high-pressure cockpit environment.

“For the pilot, it’s like going from an old analog TV to digital full HD color display,” said Chris Colston, Business Development director for BAE Systems Electronic Systems sector. “Before, everything was displayed in monochrome green; now we can display video and symbology in color. In particular, the use of color symbology for targets and threats can help pilots interpret the information displayed and make time-critical decisions.”

In addition to color capability, the helmet now boasts Active Noise Reduction (ANR) and 3D audio, reducing noise stress and providing pilots with directional threat warnings within a 360-degree sphere of the aircraft.

By adding high-resolution color, the engineers have also future-proofed the helmet in readiness for next-generation color sensors and emerging mission requirements that will exploit this new display capability.

“Striker II’s advanced design and range of capabilities allows the pilot to evade threats and precision-engage targets while still providing superior situational awareness and mission effectiveness,” said Ross Hobson, an Electronic Systems (ES) Engineering project manager.

The combination of all three new technologies – a first in HMD design - makes Striker II the most-advanced helmet-mounted display currently available in the world today.

“The unique combination of integrated night vision, color and 3-D audio provides truly intuitive situational awareness, day and night, to deliver a new standard of operational effectiveness,” said Hobson.

Nearly five years in the making, the completion of another set of successful trials earlier this year was a tremendous milestone. The most-recent testing demonstrated the utility of the digital night vision and the plug-and-play integration of the helmet with the Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft.

“A major benefit of the Striker II solution is the ‘plug-and-play’ integration of the new digital HMD into the existing analogue aircraft, without requiring any physical aircraft hardware modification,” said Colston.

This product is a true example of how the great minds of ES engineers and the dedication from the sector’s business support teams can come together and create exceptional technology that can deliver enhanced operational performance to the company’s customers. Currently, the team is in discussions with a number of potential customers around the integration of this new helmet.

By Emily Cheeseman, Communications, Rochester, England