Cobra HMD for Swedish Gripens
Heads-up displays (HUD) are all well and good, but displays that move with the pilot’s head are even better. Our JHMCS articles have covered the way helmet-mounted displays (HMD) change the game in close air combat, especially when they’re paired with modern missiles and their wide seeker cones. Sweden’s JAS-39 Gripen fighter has performed well in exercises, but to date most have lacked helmet-mounted displays. Now a SEK 345 million ($54 million) deal between Sweden’s FMV and Saab promises to equip Swedish Gripens with the Cobra HMD. Saab Group release.
Like other HMDs, Cobra displays key data and weapons targeting directly onto the helmet visor, allowing a Gripen pilot to stay ‘heads-up’. The helmet and display system have been developed by BAE Systems, the mask by G4, the helmet tracking system by Denel Optronics of South Africa, and the display symbology by Saab. It has been tested on JAS-39 C/D variants since 2005, and made available as an export option. As of October 2007, the South African Air Force had ordered it, but it didn’t become operational there until September 2011. Saab’s release cited the SAAF as the 1st operational Cobra HMD customer.