The £268,000 F-35 Pilot Helmet Can See Through the Pilot's Aircraft

By Attila Nagy on at

This is one of the priciest pieces of pilots’ head gear ever constructed. The F-35 Gen III Helmet Mounted Display System (HMDS), with the tremendous price tag of $400,000/£268,119, is so advanced that it lets pilots see through their own airframe.

According to Lockheed Martin and manufacturer Rockwell Collins this piece of integrated hardware and software is “the world’s most advanced biocular helmet-mounted display system,” designed to provide pilots with revolutionary situational awareness:

All the information pilots need to complete their missions – airspeed, heading, altitude, targeting information and warnings – is projected on the helmet’s visor, rather than on a traditional Heads-up Display. This approach greatly reduces the pilot’s workload and increases responsiveness. Additionally, the F-35’s Distributed Aperture System (DAS) streams real-time imagery from six infrared cameras mounted around the aircraft to the helmet, allowing pilots to “look through” the airframe. The helmet also provides pilots night vision through the use of an integrated camera.

Its main features include:

  • Biocular, 30-by-40-degree wide-field-of-view with 100 percent overlap
  • Virtual head-up display
  • Look-through-aircraft capability via DAS imagery
  • High accuracy tracking with auto-boresighting
  • Active noise reduction (ANR)
  • Digital night vision sensor
  • Ejection capability to 550 KEAS (circa 633 MPH)
  • Lightweight and well balanced helmet
  • Custom helmet liner for precise fit and comfort
  • Multiple interpupillary distance (IPD) settings
  • Video recording
  • Picture in picture
  • Compatible with eyeglasses and laser eye protection (LEP) devices