Hats off to BAE helmet

A new helmet, designed and manufactured by BAE Systems, has been tested on Eurofighter Typhoon in preparation for delivery to front-line pilots.

The Helmet Equipment Assembly (HEA) was fully tracked into the Typhoon’s computer systems. This allows the pilot to direct sensors and weapons to where he needs them by simply turning his head — be it to cue a missile, lock on a sensor to a threat over his shoulder or indicate a point on the ground to his wingman.

Not only will it provide head protection for the pilot but it will act as a respirator for protection in nuclear, biological and chemical warfare environments.

It will also afford pilots ‘virtual heads-up display’ symbology and video imagery from the aircraft sensors and from a helmet-mounted, image-intensified night-vision system. An array of raised LEDs on the helmet will emit infrared signals to enable the ‘intelligent’ aircraft cockpit to track the position of the pilot and determine which symbology should be displayed.

This trial is the first time the full avionics capability has been exercised with this standard of helmet. The Mk 1 has been subjected to a variety of tests, including detailed prototyping of the intended weapon system interaction in the active cockpit with customer pilots; extensive rig, centrifuge and flight testing of the physical system to optimise the mass and balance; and testing to ensure necessary protection levels are provided by the helmet to the pilot. It has also completed high-speed windblast and ejection trials.

Full protection: the pilot’s helmet will also act as a respirator in chemical attacks