New fighter pilot helmet begins night tests

BAE Systems has begun night trials of its Striker II fighter pilot helmet, testing the capabilities of the digital night vision built into the helmet’s visor.

Rather than the bulky goggles traditionally used for night vision, the Striker II incorporates this function into its helmet-mounted display (HMD), while also delivering target-tracking technology. Trials of Striker II have started at BAE’s Military Air & Information business in Warton, Lancashire.

Striker II helmet

“Striker II has a high-definition, lightweight night vision camera which translates information and displays it on the helmet’s visor,” said Peter Kosogorin, test pilot at the Warton site.

“This removes the need for heavy night vision goggles which increase g-force pressures on the head and neck, limiting the pilot’s manoeuvrability in the cockpit. The helmet provides a clear and accurate visual display and a seamless transition from day to night, eliminating the need to manually configure and adjust night vision goggles.”

The two-part integrated helmet features a fully overlapped, 40-degree, binocular display, as well as integrated chem-bio and laser eye protection. Striker II also uses a low-latency head tracker system that ensures the pilot’s head and the aircraft computer system are continuously in sync, eliminating any delay in delivering the correct information to the HMD. The helmet’s performance will be further tested with a series of trials in Typhoon aircraft later in the year. 

“The second set of trials is the next step in the flight test programme to prove Striker II offers true ‘plug and play’ compatibility with the Typhoon and builds upon the initial trials to further evaluate the digital night vision capability,” said Chris Colston, business development director at BAE Systems.

As well as being used on the Typhoon, BAE Systems says the original Striker helmet design has also been adopted for use on the Saab Gripen fighter aircraft, and is now in production for customers in the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, Spain, and other countries.