The US Department of Defense announced it will abort the development of a helmet mounted display system (HDMS) for its F-35 stealth aircraft in favor of the model developed by the Israeli company Elbit and the American Rockwell Collins.
As 4,000 F-35s are currently set for manufacture, the DoD's announcement means a contract worth more than $1 billion over 10 years.
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The new HDMS, to be produced in the US, projects all the information the pilot requires onto the helmet's visor, without him needing to spend valuable time looking at various displays in the cockpit.
In addition, the helmet enables the pilot to "see through" the aircraft, by displaying footage from cameras set in various spots on its frame, including its underside, a feature especially useful in dogfights and bombing missions.
The Israeli helmet will be part and parcel of all stealth aircraft produced starting in 2016, including the 100 ordered by Turkey. Ironically, should the US's allies in the Persian Gulf such as Saudi Arabia and Bahrain place an order, they will be forced to use the Israeli-developed HDMS.
The Israeli Air Force ordered 19 F-35s. Last week Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon toured the aircraft's assembly line in Texas and said the Defense Ministry plans to acquire another F-35 squadron.
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