FLIGHT-TESTING of an advanced helmet under the US Joint Advanced Strike Technology programme is scheduled to begin in early February and continue to the end of March. The integrated helmet audio-visual system (IHAVS) combines a helmet-mounted display, three-dimensional (3-D) aural cueing and voice control in a bid to improve pilot situational awareness.

The IHAVS demonstrator has been installed in a McDonnell Douglas TAV-8B Harrier II. The aircraft is equipped with a Loral Nite Hawk infra-red targeting pod, imagery from which is displayed on a GEC-Marconi Avionics Viper II helmet-mounted display fitted with Polhemus head tracker.

Information from the aircraft's radar-warning receiver is presented to the pilot using aural tones generated by a 3-D audio system developed by the USAF Systems Research Laboratories. The tones indicate the position and lethality of the four most urgent threats.

US Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps pilots will evaluate the IHAVS' ability to enhance situation awareness, improve survivability and increase lethality on air-to-ground mission. Threat-avoidance and target-acquisition and attack tasks will be performed with the IHAVS replacing the head-up display (HUD) - and with the HUD alone, for comparison.

Source: Flight International