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Eurofighter pilot can look, lock-on and fire

posted 1 Feb 2011, 03:34 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 1 Feb 2011, 03:36 ]
Pilots in the Eurofighter Typhoon have a new weapon at their disposal - a helmet that lets them look, lock-on, and fire. The system allows pilots to watch multiple targets, lock-on to them and prioritise them with voice commands. Stuart McDill reports.
WARTON, LANCASHIRE, ENGLAND, UK - As hi-tech military gear goes - this helmet is about as futuristic as it gets.

It's designed for pilots in the Eurofighter Typhoon - and it knows which target the pilot is looking at and which one he wants to shoot down first.

The helmet was developed by British defence company BAE Systems and their chief test pilot, Mark Bowman, says the development is revolutionary.

MARK BOWMAN, CHIEF TEST PILOT BAE SYSTEMS SAYING:

"We've moved on enormously from where we were 20 or 30 years ago. The helmet display is most probably as significant as almost the jet engine in what it is going to do for combat capability and what the pilot can do."

A heads-up display is nothing new but this one is inside the visor and moves with the pilot's head, effectively making him part of the weapons system.

The pilot can now look at a target even if its behind or below him, lock onto it, and then fire - regardless of where the aircraft is pointing.

MARK BOWMAN, CHIEF TEST PILOT BAE SYSTEMS SAYING:

"Traditionally the helmet has been seen very much as a crash helmet and a walkie-talkie. What we have got now is actually a piece of not only optical equipment but something that is really technically advanced that most probably I, certainly as a young boy, only ever dreamt of but now it is very much a reality."

The Eurofighter Typhoon recently completed its first 100,000 hours of service with air forces across Europe - its next 100,000 will see the integration of the helmet system, an advance destined to take split-second decision-making to new heights.

Stuart McDill, Reuters, Lancashire.

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