Raptor pilots are actually testing a brand new kind of flight helmet.
The U.S. Air Pressure is lastly testing a brand new helmet design for fastened wing pilots, developed round pilots’ wants and suggestions from utilizing the present HGU-55P helmet, which has been the usual issued helmet for the final 40 years. The testing is at present underway at Eglin Air Pressure Base, the place roughly 5 F-22A Raptor pilots from the 301st Fighter Squadron, a Reserve unit with the forty third Fighter Squadron, are flying with the brand new lighter, cooler and extra readily outfitted helmet.
The Subsequent Era Mounted Wing Helmet program purpose is to offer pilots a extra comfy, steady, and balanced platform to accommodate helmet-mounted gadgets utilization with out imposing neck pressure and discomfort to the person. The brand new helmet will equip assist, bomber and fighter plane pilots, apart from F-35 who will proceed to fly with their present helmet.
“It is not uncommon information fighter pilots have long run neck and again points,” mentioned Maj. Brett Gedman, from the 301st Fighter Squadron. “Subsequently, having a light-weight helmet, designed with the operator in thoughts, can have optimistic long-term impacts on the well being of our fighter pilots throughout and after service.”
This collection of assessments, which is being overseen by the forty sixth Take a look at Squadron and the twenty eighth Take a look at and Analysis Squadron, marks the second spherical of developmental assessments with the LIFT-manufactured helmet because it was awarded the contract in 2022. One other spherical of testing shall be carried out as soon as the Raptor full their transfer from Eglin Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, which shall be adopted by testing on the HC-130J and B-1B Lancer.
“The present helmet was primarily based on 1980’s design. Since then, positive factors in plane know-how and the demographic of pilots have modified,” mentioned Scott Cota, ACC Plans and Necessities department aircrew flight gear program analyst final yr. “The legacy helmet was not initially designed to assist advances in plane helmet-mounted show methods, inflicting pilots to fly with gear not optimized for them, particularly our feminine aircrew.”
Curiously, according to LIFT, the brand new helmet design incorporates a variety of up to date applied sciences: “Lively Noise Discount (ANR) is a regular problem function which improves speech intelligibility throughout a large frequency spectrum, serving to to guard crew members from stress and fatigue. The Aircrew Mounted Energy Provide (AMPS) is an off-helmet unit, which reduces weight, and helps lengthen the lifetime of the helmet by it’s rechargeable lithium-ion batteries (lowering battery waste). Extra options embody Improved stability, a diminished helmet dimension to help in higher ‘mass properties’, a carbon fiber shell to cut back helmet weight and crew member neck pressure, and a “customized match system” to offer a extra comfy match for female and male aircrew members.”
Completely different configurations can be found together with JHMCS (Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System) and NVG (Evening Imaginative and prescient Goggles). The brand new helmet may also be fitted with the nuclear flash protective goggles. In contrast to the previous HGU-55/P, whose addition of the varied attachments and mounts required hours of becoming and considerably altered the steadiness of the helmet, contributing to the neck and again points widespread amongst pilots, the brand new helmet is far more comfy and ergonomic, and was designed to permit the person one-handed operations (elevating and decreasing of the visor, activation of the illumination, and so on). One other actually attention-grabbing function is the magnetic chin strap, that permits the person to mate the strap with a single hand, in the same option to what occurs with the the fashionable business ski helmets.
The form and dimension of the NGFWH enable for extra mobility and visibility, in addition to extra consolation within the cockpit. It’s not clear whether or not the scale of the brand new helmet has been diminished sufficient to permit the helmet-mounted cueing system to be suitable with the F-22 cover.
At this time, many of the fight plane (together with right this moment use a Helmet Mounted Show: with an HMD (just like the JHMCS, the F-35’s HMD or the Eurofighter HMSS), data imagery (together with plane’s airspeed, altitude, weapons standing, aiming and so on) are projected on the visor enabling the pilot to look out in any route with all of the required knowledge all the time in his visual field. As an example, the HMD permits the pilot to have interaction a goal with a missile by merely it.
Regardless of varied integration efforts prior to now, the F-22 will not be outfitted but with a helmet that gives the important flight and weapon aiming data by line of sight imagery: the form of the Raptor’s cover, optimized to protect Low Observability, doesn’t enable sufficient vary of movement and minimal visibility to a pilot sporting the JHMCS or the Scorpion.
Anyway, again to the NGFWH testing, after every flight, the F-22 pilots present a suggestions about wearability, visibility, communication, and so on after every flight, permitting the engineers to compile knowledge that may assist the producer to repair and enhance the helmet.