Collins Elbit Vision Systems has started flight testing its Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System II (JHMCS II) in the Lockheed Martin F-16V.
The flight tests are part of the US Air Force’s military flight release process, says the company on 3 August. The helmet has already passed safety qualification testing, including sled, tower and windblast tests.
So far, the JHMCS II is the only helmet mounted display integrated and tested on the F-16V, the upgraded version of the fighter. The helmet is also to be integrated into F-16 Block 70/72, a new-build version of the fighter based on the new capabilities offered in the “V” upgrade package.
The helmet comes with a number of features including visor-projected symbology and night vision goggles. The device allows pilots to fire off-boresight missiles, such as the Raytheon AIM-9X Sidewinder. Such off-boresight missiles can be fired at enemy aircraft that are not directly in front of a fighter using a visual cueing system that follows the pilot’s head as it turns.
The helmet is manufactured by Elbit Vision Systems, a joint venture between Collins Aerospace and Elbit Systems of America.
“JHMCS II is designed to increase lethality, mission effectiveness and pilot safety,” says Raanan Horowitz, chief executive officer of Elbit Systems of America. “The helmet mounted display’s improved centre of gravity reduces neck strain which increases pilot safety and comfort.”
The F-16V and F-16 Block 70/72 comes with an APG-83 active electronically scanned array radar, automatic ground collision avoidance system, infrared search and track, and a more robust mission computer, among other improvements.
New-build F-16 Block 70/72 are on contract from Bahrain, Bulgaria and Slovakia.
The US State Department has also approved Morocco and Taiwan to buy F-16 Block 70/72 aircraft. Chile, Morocco and Taiwan are also approved to upgrade older fighters to the “V” variant. Taipei signed a letter of offer and acceptance for the “V” upgrades in December.