Iowa Senator Joni Ernst “flies” the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II demonstrator at an event Tuesday at Rockwell Collins
Technology is integral to the function of the F-35 Lightning II jet fighter, providing unprecedented situational awareness for pilots
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (August 11, 2015) – Sen. Joni Ernst, Lockheed Martin and Rockwell Collins executives commemorated the delivery of the first Gen III F-35 Helmet Mounted Display System (HMDS) today. In addition to the HMDS, the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II demonstrator was on site at the Cedar Rapids headquarters of Rockwell Collins for Sen. Ernst to get a first-hand experience of “flying” the military’s most advanced fighter jet following the delivery ceremony.
Rockwell Collins, through its joint venture, Rockwell Collins ESA Vision Systems LLC, is providing the most advanced technology for warfighters with the F-35 HMDS, which provides pilots with unprecedented levels of situational awareness and allows them to “look through” the airframe.
“Today’s visit was an opportunity to place focus on Rockwell Collins, as manufacturing makes up such an important part of our economy here in Iowa,” said Senator Ernst. “Having served in the military for over 20 years, I appreciate the company’s efforts in support of our national defense, our armed forces and our veterans.”
“We’re pleased to be able to demonstrate the advanced capabilities of the F-35 Lightning II at Rockwell Collins today to Sen. Ernst and members of the Cedar Rapids community,” said Steve Callaghan, director, F-35 Program, Lockheed Martin Washington Operations. “The employees at Rockwell Collins are contributing to the F-35s flying today, and we’re pleased to have the opportunity to showcase the superior performance capabilities of this aircraft with them.”
The Gen III helmet, which includes an improved night vision camera, improved liquid-crystal displays, automated alignment and software improvements is to be introduced to the fleet in low rate initial production Lot 7 in 2016. Rockwell Collins ESA Vision Systems LLC also developed the Gen 2 helmet that F-35 pilots currently use, which met the needs for the U.S. Marine Corps and will allow the service to declare Initial Operational Capability.
All the information that pilots need to complete their missions – through all weather, day or night – is projected on the helmet’s visor. Additionally, the F-35’s Distributed Aperture System (DAS), made by Northrop Grumman, streams real-time imagery from six infrared cameras mounted around the aircraft to the helmet, allowing pilots to “look through” the airframe.
Overall, Rockwell Collins has built and fit more than 200 helmets for F-35 pilots who are being trained for the program.