VSI Gets $156M Expansion on F-35 Helmet Displays Contract
The Elbit/ Rockwell-Collins joint venture Vision Systems International, LLC (VSI) in San Jose, CA received a firm fixed price contract for $156 million from Lockheed Martin, as part of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter’s System Development and Demonstration (SDD) phase. This new contract expands the company’s effort to include provision of pilot flight gear, including the oxygen mask and chemical/ biological hazard protection. VSI was previously awarded a contract to design the advanced JSF Helmet Mounted Display System (HMDS) for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, and Lockheed Martin informed VSI that it has been selected to supply JSF HMDS to all domestic and international F-35 customers. See corporate release.
Principal suppliers include Elbit Systems Ltd. (display Management Computer, contains advanced graphic processing and head tracking); Rockwell Collins, (helmet Mounted Display, including advanced optical design); and Helmet Integrated Systems Ltd. of the UK (helmet shell and pilot personal fitting system).
DID has covered its predecessor the Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing Systems (JHMCS) before, from its revolutionary effect on air combat when used with high off-boresight 4th generation SRAAMs like the AIM-9X Sidewinder, AA-11 Archer et. al., to the program’s rocky but ultimately successful history as a key companion to US F-15, F-16, and F/A-18 aircraft. JSF HMDS takes this one step further, providing day or night imagery that applies to both air and ground attacks; it also features advanced head tracking capability and near-zero latency, in order to provide a virtual heads-up display and imagery screen anywhere the pilot’s head moves. Since the F-35 will be the first tactical fighter jet in over 30 years to fly without a HUD, this capability is mandatory.