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New jet fighter helmet 'sees' through floors

The F-35 helmet will replace traditional heads-up jet fighter instrument display.

Vision Systems International

The new combat helmet now being tested may become an integral part of the new F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, replacing the traditional jet fighter head-up display with computerized "symbology" projected directly onto the pilot's visor.

In addition to keeping pilots on top of navigation, weapons and other aircraft, the Helmet Mounted Display System will superimpose a binocular-wide field-of-view, infrared image of the world below, allowing the pilot to "look through" the cockpit floor at night. This will let a pilot turn in any direction and still be able to see a virtual heads-up display, replacing the information that is currently seen only at the front of the cockpit.

If it works, the F-35 will be the first tactical fighter jet in 50 years to fly without an HUD. The British Royal Air Force's Centre for Aviation Medicine is evaluating the helmet, which is manufactured by Silicon Valley-based Vision Systems International and Helmet Integrated Systems.

They may want to add the following label. "Warning: In case of crash, remove helmet before approaching natives for assistance."