The helmet worn by an F-35 stealth fighter pilot has long been no ordinary helmet, but a personal pilot head system, HMDS, as defined by Israeli manufacturer, Elbit Systems. It is a sophisticated system saturated with technologies, electronics, vision, contracts, audio, accelerometers, cameras, HUD top view - all packed in a helmet that weighs less than 1.5 kg and costs hundreds of thousands of dollars.
“The helmet market is a boutique market, which requires a lot of experience and development”, says Sagi Peleg, VP of Strategy and Business Development in the Aircraft Division at Elbit.
The head gear for the F-35s are manufactured at the Elbit Systems plant in Karmiel. Each helmet is personal, tailored to each pilot individually, a match that takes several days to complete and includes a 3D scan of the head, the distance between the pilot's eyes and more. The head system includes a VISOR reflector on which the flight and mission data are projected.
The sophisticated helmet 'enslaves' the armament and directs it to the target, by a simple movement the pilot makes with his or her head. Here lie the valuable advantages of the system: rapid response time, and reduction of the pilot’s workload, among other important elements.
The aircraft’s wings are also much more than aerodynamically shaped iron blocks. Rather, they are an advanced accumulation of technologies of composites, produced with the utmost precision by the Israeli Aerospace Industries (IAI).
Yaakov Rozman, Director of Aviation Assemblies in the Aviation Division, IAI: "We landed the wing manufacturing contract following 25 years of experience and excellence in this field. We started assembling the F-35 wings production line in 2013 and less than a year later we already started production.
"The wing covering is made of composites of graphite, epoxy and BMI. The chassis is made of materials such as titanium and uranium. To date, we have manufactures 270 pairs of wings – for the A-model of the F-35, the most common model.”