Eurofighter Typhoon: Air Forces take delivery of a latest technology Helmet Mounted Symbology System

In July 2010 the UK Royal Air Force, Spanish Air Force, Italian Air Force and the German Luftwaffe have begun taking delivery of the most advanced Helmet Mounted Symbology System (HMSS) which will form a key component of their Eurofighter Typhoon weapon systems.

The HMSS significantly improves tactical performance for Eurofighter pilots, by providing essential flight and weapon aiming information through line of sight imagery. Information imagery includes aircraft’s flight parameters, weapons status and aiming all projected on the HEA (Helmet Equipment Assembly) visor, thereby enabling the pilot to simultaneously look out in any direction (head out) and have all required flight and weapon aiming information always in his field of vision.

Together the Typhoon Helmet and HMSS provide world leading capabilities, giving the pilot, in conjunction with the rest of the Typhoon Human Machine Interface, unrivalled situational awareness whether “head in” or “head out”.
The HMSS passive and stealthy sensor system, developed and manufactured by BAE Systems, provides the Eurofighter pilot with significant operational advantages by reducing pilot workload and increasing the weapon envelope in combat situations. The Eurofighter Pilot will be able to instantly designate targets with full head movement, reducing the need for in-cockpit switch selection and aircraft manoeuvring. This exploits the full potential of high off-boresight missiles such as IRIS-T and ASRAAM which can now be deployed without the need to turn the aircraft on to the target.

As well as providing non-avionic type helmet essential safety characteristics of pilot life support and communications functions, the HMSS has full integration with all Eurofighter attack and navigation systems. The new helmet can be used throughout the full aircraft envelope (up to 9g) for both air-to-air and air-to-ground day / night missions. Ongoing weapon system capabilities including additional air-to-ground features will be released next year with the first already contracted batch of the Eurofighter enhancements programme. The new helmet and HMSS allow for ongoing development and enhancement such as increased night vision capabilities.

The HMSS is manufactured from carbon fibre and at under 2 kg its weight is similar to other contemporary non-HMSS helmets. Its modular design incorporates a pilot personal “inner” helmet, which fits into the standard “outer” avionic HMMS. This design allows both personal comfort and reduced ownership costs through the flexibility of an outer interchangeable HMSS. Ejection safety characteristics are built into the design.

The new helmet and HMSS has be in action during the Farnborough Air Show with BAE Systems test pilot Nat Makepeace wearing it during his daily air display.