Next-gen HMD for US F-16s: four-coordinate layout, symbols scaling

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WASHINGTON — F-16 pilots from the US National Guard expect in the coming months to receive next-generation Scorpion helmet-mounted displays [HMD], manufactured by the French company Thales. The upgrade affects pilots flying the F-16 Block 40 and Block 50. The signed agreement is for the production of the Scorpion model.

Photo: Thales

Thales ’Scorpion system is a state-of-the-art display system. The choice is not accidental but proven, as the pilots of the A-10 Thunderbolt, F-16 Viper, AC-130W Dragon Spear, and the AT-6 from the US Air Force are already taking advantage of this display. Scorpion is also integrated into the F-18 of the Spanish Air Force, as well as in dozens of aircraft and helicopters such as F-22, OV-10, UH-60 / S-70, MD530G, H125M, H145M, and H225 of various air forces around the world.

The Scorpion system uses augmented reality. The system is built as open architecture and allows fast integration and installation. As a finished product Scorpion system consists of an Ethernet Databus and LRU that can be installed in the side console DZUS rail mount, inertial optical hybrid tracker, system interface, and system to provide data transfer cartridge with size up to 128 GB.

The Scorpion system has impressive features. Each video or symbol can be scaled during flight. The symbols can also be located in any of the four coordinate systems: Earth [Lat, Long, Alt], Airplane [azimuth, altitude, rotation], Cockpit [X, Y, Z relative to the designer’s eye], Helmet [azimuth, elevation, and rollover relative to the helmet sight].

The characteristic of the Scorpion system is that the integrators of the system can implement symbols and mechanization of the display at any time. Also, the pilot with the help of the integrator determines when and where to place the symbols or video in real-time. Another important feature is that the symbols are programmed by the integrator and downloaded from the aircraft launch system.

Photo: Thales

Mike Sheehan, president, and CEO of Thales Defense & Security says the F-16’s choice only proves the effectiveness, capabilities, and quality of Scorpion helmet-mounted displays. Last but not least, according to Sheen, is the color symbolism in the Scorpion display and the possibility of sharing with “unmodified night vision goggles”.


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