Lockheed Martin recently tested a prototype from Rockwell Collins that could solve the F-35’s helmet-mounted display “green glow” issue, F-35 programme Jeff Babione told reporters at the Paris air show this week.
Pilots on the Joint Strike Fighter have struggled with a green glow created by light from the cockpit avionics display, which leaks into the HMD and affects visual acuity, distracting pilots on night landings during carrier qualifications.
The Gen III HMDS is a joint venture between Collins and Elbit Systems. Collins is now using organic LED (OLED) – similar to technology used in cell phones and televisions but in a micro-display configuration, according to Lockheed – to solve the green glow problem.
“It effectively eliminates the green glow phenomenon caused by the current display technology’s low contrast ratio,” a Lockheed spokesman says. “We are working on a flight clearance to use the prototype during carrier qualifications this fall for an evaluation of pilot workload reduction while landing on the carrier at night.”
Collins engineers were working on technology for displays in low light conditions before Lockheed approached them, says Dave Schreck, vice president and general manager, airborne solutions for government systems at Rockwell Collins. However, the OLED solution is not yet ready for the Gen III helmet and the system is currently around a technology readiness level of six, he says.
“It’s been shown relevant in an operational environment,” he says. “I think we’re getting to the point where it definitely shows promise.”