Boeing's Fighter Jet Wonder Helmet System
In 2000 the Boeing Company’s Defense, Space and Security subdivision began production of a Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System (JHMCS) that allowed fighter pilots the ability to direct onboard weapons simply by the direction of their head. Full production began in 2005, and the JHMCS has been utilized by over 2,500 F-15, F-16, and F/A-18 aircraft around the world.
According to Boeing the JHMCS provides fighter pilots with an enhanced situational awareness. It can be used in air-to-air missions to accurately cue onboard weapons against enemy aircraft or air-to-ground missions by cueing with radar sensors to hit surface targets. The system works by using a “magnetic helmet-mounted tracker” that adjusts to the pilot’s head direction. Also, a special visor displays tactical information, including airspeed and altitude. By combining the helmet tracker with the visor display, the pilot can accurately and effectively search and destroy enemy targets.
As of 2008 the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Air National Guard, and Korean military use the JHMCS in the F-15 fighter. The U.S. Air Force and Air National Guard, Belgium, Chile, Denmark, Greece, Netherlands, Norway, Oman, Poland, and Turkey deploy JHMCS in their F-16s, while the U.S. Navy, Australia, Canada, Finland, and Switzerland use it in the F/A-18 fighter jet. The U.S. Air Force has just recently renewed its contract for the JHMCS.1
(Left) A JHMCS being mounted on a helmet at the Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in North Carolina, May 2010.
(Right) Finishing up the adjustments for the JHMCS fighter jet helmet, May 2010.