According to an interview with an F-35 test pilot and AIN.com, F-35 pilots will begin flying with a third generation helmet that is an improvement from earlier versions. The helmets feature improvements on the second generation models, particularly in the area of night vision acuity.
The improvement on the previous generation of helmets marks a major step in the testing phase of the aircraft, according to the F-35 flight test director.
From the AIN coverage:
F-35 test pilots will begin flying this year with a third-generation helmet mounted display system (HMDS) that incorporates modifications to the earlier-generation display system, which the Pentagon has identified as an F-35 program risk. The fixes the fighter program developed for the “Gen 3” helmet system persuaded the Pentagon’s F-35 Joint Program Office (JPO) to stop funding an alternate helmet-mounted display.
“I definitely have confidence that we are on the right track; we have the right plan for these fixes in place,” said Marine Lt. Col. Matthew Kelly, government flight test director at the F-35 integrated training center at the Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md.