The helmet worn by an F-35 stealth fighter pilot was not for a long time an ordinary helmet, but a personal pilot’s head system, HMDS, as defined by the Israeli manufacturer, Elbit Systems. It’s a sophisticated system saturated with tech, electronics, vision, contracts, audio, accelerometers, cameras, HUDs seen from above – all wrapped up in a headset that weighs less than 1.5 kg and costs hundreds of thousands of dollars.
“The helmet market is a boutique type market, which requires a lot of experience and development,” said Sagi Peleg, vice president of strategy and business development for the Aircraft division at Elbit.
The F-35 helmets are manufactured at the Elbit Systems factory in Karmiel. Each helmet is personal, tailored to each pilot individually, a match that takes several days and includes a 3D scan of the head, distance between the pilot’s eyes and more. The head system includes a VISOR reflector onto which flight and mission data is projected.
The sophisticated helmet “slaves” the weaponry and directs it towards the target, with a simple movement the pilot makes with his head. This is where the valuable advantages of the system lie: fast response time and reduced pilot workload, among other important elements.
The wings of the plane are also much more than aerodynamically shaped blocks of iron. Rather, it is an advanced accumulation of composite technologies, produced with the greatest precision by the Israeli Aerospace Industries (IAI).
Yaakov Rozman, Director of Aeronautical Assemblies, Aviation Division, IAI: “We won the contract to manufacture wings after 25 years of experience and excellence in this field. We started assembling the F-35 wing production line in 2013 and less than a year later. we have already started production.
“The wing coating is made from composites of graphite, epoxy and IMC. The chassis is made from materials such as titanium and uranium. To date, we have manufactured 270 pairs of wings – for Model A of the F-35, the most common model.