I despise the F-35 and all that it represents as a monumental /waste/ of talent and money in our defense procurement establishment. For which no
fiduciary responsibility is being assigned or expected of those engaged in what amounts to a massive (256 billion dollar) fraud.
Sometimes the only way I can express that hate is in details. If you were bored, I'm sorry.
But from what I was able to discern, I would like to ask why do you think that the Head mounted display would require the visual aids to orient the
First off, let's make a differentiation.
1. Canopy bows. instrument panel glareshields the sill-lines around the cockpit/canopy seal, wingtips/pylons/inlets are all good 'orientation
points' for a pilot. As is a conventional HUD.
A cockpit floor is not because it means you are not looking outside the airplane and you ARE subject to 'elevatorism' (put your head down and hit
the down button) of vertical axis G load and resulting disorientation.
Having recognizeable features located around the airframe helps prevent serious spatial and inertial decoupling of 'here I look, there I gooooo!' in
which just a few degrees difference from where your head is pointing vs. where you guts and your inner ears are 'saying your body is headed' can
seriously mess up your ability to fly and employ an aircraft as a weapons system.
It is so bad that F-16 pilots transitioning from the Eagle or Phantom cockpits were often told 'just keep your HUD/UFC in the middle third of your
vision for the first few missions'. Because the lack of forward vision cues and the extremely low sill lines were that disorienting.
To which I would add that if you are bombing or shooting, it is better to do so through a focal point which remains firmly attached to the small
movements of the airframe than on which tries to make your head responsible for stabilizing the sight picture. Not that dive toss or air to air
manual gunnery are 'good things' to be doing with a 100 million dollar airframe...
2. The latter problem also references what I was talking about in regard to disjointed spatial positioning relative to a percieved vs. actual image
In that you are 'jumping' (like a teleport or hyperspace) from sensor to sensor without any sense of the airframe inbetween while maintaining what
could reasonably be called the same sense of head positioning. In this case, your guts (visceral motion of liquids and muscles in the intestines) are
telling you the RIGHT thing but it's as if your eyes are magicially 'stretching' to a whole 'nother perspective.
Such can be equally dangerous because it encourages the 'virtual' part of your visual processing system to make leaps of imagination that are not
correlative with what your eyes are really seeing. Something that is particularly dangerous if the images are in fact holographic with some 'see
thru' effect to the real world and thus you are supplying your visual processing centers with an overlay of divergent rangepoint viewing
It's so dangerous in carrier landings (both CVTOL and STOVL) that pilots are forbidden to use goggles in most cases.
Wont the picture be presented to the pilot such that their is no disparity in the visual projections on all sides ?? I know that this is possible when
it is run through a computer and modified.
The problem here is that the DAS is likely only about a 512X512 pixel array density (CMC electronics calls the IDA or Infrared Detector Assemblies a
'megapixel' array). Something that just about covers the palm of your hand.
There are six total apertures with one just in front of the canopy (tilted at a 45` angle) and on either side of the nose, 2-3feet below, tilted at
20-30`. And presumably 'somewhere' around the tail booms where exhaust gasses and stabilizer masking is not a problem.
Comparitively, your eyes are rather smaller in aperture size but they are _articulated_ so that a principal focal area or instantaneous field of
regard perhaps 40-60` wide can be further 'scanned' both by the eyes themselves and by subsequent head movement which gracefully overcompensates as
both eyes and body 'cage' back to center so that you have an effectively 100-120` wide total FOV.
To mimic this total FOV flexibility in experiments with the Falcon Eye-
And now the operational (UAE) AAQ-32 IFTS-
We needed to have a roughly double-fist sized optical ball mounted on a gimbal.
Comparitively, it seems unlikely to me that you can fuse the six IDAs imagery to form a synthetic global vision capability.
At best, IMO, you will get a 'tank commanders view port' system in which each sensor provides an image somewhat larger but FIXED as if you had
nailed a digital camera to the a given perspective point and were 'tilting the floor' to change the image.
Also the raster that you speak of, do you really believe that it would cause sufficient fatigue to make it debilitating?
The problem with raster (line by line reproduction of an image, like a TV) is that, even with doubling, you can really never get more out than you put
in. Thus if you want a high density image, you have to pay for it with either a collimated mirror path from a pretty hefty projector at the back of
the helmet (which at least tends to keep the weight over the cervical vertebra but adds more volume and mass in the mirrors and is a royal /pain/ to
Or you have to put a pretty big honkin' projector RIGHT IN OR NEXT TO the pilot's eyeline. Typically through side arrays close to the upper cheeks
but also sometimes in a 'nose piece' over the top of the pilots glareshield.
You also need a large, heavy, optically perfect replacement for hte visor.
This puts weight AHEAD of the pilot's neck (pulling his head down under acceleration) and thus makes any activity under G load that much more
burdensome. So that a 2.3lb HGU-55P (3lb with mask and commline) becomes a 4.5lb JHMCS. And the difference at 7G (which is about the most you can
'work with' as a function of /any/ head movement) is that of 21 vs. 32lbs.
If I told you you had to carry an equal weight atop your skull while playing paintball, at 1G which would you rather it be? Now imagine your skull
whipping back and forth as you yank and bank in a desparate struggle to keep everybody in sight and your nose on the most threatening target.
Then there's the problem with eye relief. Right now you are looking at a little over 50mm for separation. But only if you remove the monocular
)(stroke only) assembly and display the image RIGHT on the helmet. And that means trouble for spatial warp and accurate frame of reference between
the pilot and the head positioning sensors. Which together means that, at a time when you are /fighting/ just to make gross motor movement on
straining neck muscles, now they want you to be 'extra careful' and precise in fine tuning a (symbologic) target designator. Not with your eyes
like a normal person. But with your head, like an owl or a cat.
Stick your index finger in front of your eyes and move it side to side, keeping the finger centered and the head motion (start-stop) smoothly at the
same rate of tracking across the visual field.
Now keep in mind that if your specially fitted helmet slips or sags on your sweaty scalp, it can all go straight to hell anyway.
Altogether, using HMD technology as I know it is a very much more iffy system to employ than is commonly thought. Certainly it is not as 'clean' as
shoot from X, retreat to Y while wingman guides from Z as is typical for a BVR engagement.
Furthermore, existing JHMCS _does not_ integrate with existing NVD or indeed any raster-projection and thus at night, users like the 3rd FW up in
Alaska prefer to dump it because that way they can pick up the added weight of the ANVIS-9 or similar goggles without further penalty while they check
dimmed formation light positioning on their sections and maneuver semi-dynamically against bogeys whose cockpit and/or turbine glow are quite visible
from useful ranges (i.e. it doesn't have to be 'Imaging IR' to see heat glow) on a properly converted target.
This means that even if DAS /does/ work, it will only be with a new generation of helmet. And that if DAS is as superior to NVDs as Falcon Eye was,
you have just 'handed the night' to every export client.
I would say the need for the canopy would disappear if this technology were to be refined further and thus save costs. However marginal they may
The problem is that that day is already here. For what systems like DAS _really_ represent is the ability to remove the pilots ability to integrate
external situational awareness data as 'datapoints' of mixed environment and target signature tracks which a conventional radar/IRST system cannot
manage when fixed within a 60X60 and 30X120` (forward biased) field of view.
The difference between a UCAV and human then being that he also uses his 'photocells' to measure range and rate in judging maneuver state and
enemy/terrain/obstacle clearance against the background. And so if he fixates on one visual target he may well lose all the other useful data that
his eyes can help collect and fuze by scanning.
OTOH, a UCAV can employ terrain reference navigation via GPS, a digital map and a high altitude radar altimeter to stay out of the dirt. While it's
INS gyros judges rate and position flight values to tenth-of-a-knot and 100th of a degree and 1,000th of a G onset /vastly/ better than the man does
in simply keeping the pointy end forward.
Indeed, as Beesley himself admitted, DAS is actually nothing more than a MAWS and a SAIRST (tracking threats and aircraft for purposes of engagement
and collision avoidance) such that, installed on an A2A optimized UCAV, you could fly rings around ANY manned jet and 90% of most positive-G
proportional lead biased missiles.
Without having to 'see the background image' (ontologic awareness of meaning) at all.
Play 'my hand is a fighter plane' for a moment. Bank right thirty degrees. Now turn DOWN and to your left. That is what a properly designed UCAV,
with no single-axis (+9/-3) bias could do. And it would revolutionize the predictor algorithms by which current air combat is fought, even in a
Now do it again. Except put a manned jet opposite. And try to do a 'Hook' (extreme pitchup) of missile lofting across the resulting circle. At
250 knots both jets can do it. At 400 knots, only the UCAV can. At 400 vs. 250, the UCAV can pitch up and out of the manned jets wingplane leaving
the manned jet to look up, gawping-awestruck.
All because the onset rate of a 400 knot 'thru the limiters' pull will GLC the pilot. And the lack of energy to recover (thrust to weight ratio)
will mean an accelerative stall will likely depart his/her airframe, even if he stays awake through the pain of a 15G instantaneous excursion.
Once the world get's tired of it's sky knight aristos, this will mean the end of air combat as we know it.
Because radar weapons will not be competitive for terminal pursuit maneuver energy. And the best way to kill agile heat shots will actually be '1G,
wings level to the horizon' so that a DIRCM (lasers in the 1.5-5KW range, illuminating the seeker) turret can zap the seekr from a _stable_
And you sure as heck don't want a human underneath a 10ft long transparency then. Because the DAS installations are not only mutually redundant in
combat. They are replaceable without fault to basic 'Aviate, Navigate, Communicate' flight skills even if they are all damaged, in mission.
A pilot's eyes are not.