The F-35’s Helmet Mounted Display Systems provide pilots with unprecedented 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.
The clip below shows a pilot landing aboard the HMS Queen Elizabeth during trials. Not only is it interesting to see what a real Shipborne Rolling Vertical Landing, or SRVL, looks like from the pilot’s point of view, but it shows how the HMD projection from the Distributed Aperture Systems (DAS) allows the pilot to look right through the canopy rail.
Here’s the video of the aircraft’s “virtual heads up display” in action during an SRVL approach:
HMD recorded F-35B landed in HMS Queen Elizabeth pic.twitter.com/HVxDyIUtpd
— 笑脸男人 (@lfx160219) August 25, 2019
F-35’s Helmet Mounted Display (HMD) is one of the most interesting features on the entire jet. By seamlessly projecting imagery from cameras distributed around the exterior of the aircraft into the pilot’s visor, they can “see-through” the aircraft’s structure.
The Queen Elizabeth’s ample deck size allows for these 57 miles per hour rolling landings that provide a larger recovery weight margin for the F-35B, as well as other flexibility when it comes to ease of efficient operations for the ship, fuel savings, reduced wear and tear on the aircraft’s propulsion system and the carrier’s deck, and more. You can read all about this maneuver, its utility, and its implications in this past article of ours.
The fascinating footage also shows what the pilot sees in their HMD when it comes to symbology. In the bottom left corner, the power output of the F-35’s lift-fan and maneuvering rear nozzle appears to be shown. You can also see how the pilot is supposed to put a secondary vector symbol on the bracket for the perfect precision landing. This bracket is also marked by the red centerline deck lights. Here is a video of the same operation and HUD symbology from the simulator: