Recently, three RAF pilots who were flying highly costly Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) planes were left blinded during their flights. The reason for this temporary disability was a faulty headgear which was meant to provide them technical information about their flights.
Flying the £100 million planes, these three pilots later revealed that right in the middle of their flights, the faulty helmets started displaying a whole plethora of information. The information comprised of images ranging from radar pictures to visuals received from cameras mounted on the outside of the plane.
Such an overwhelming amount of information, displayed right in front of their eyes, left the pilots virtually blinded for a brief period. According to later investigations, it was confirmed that such a critical failure could have led to the death of the pilots as well as the destruction of the planes, although luckily neither happened.
The helmet that was being used by the pilots is part of a £30 million helmet development program which is meant to furnish the next-generation headgear for RAF pilots. Questioning a failure of such critical and costly nature, Scottish National Party’s defense spokesman Angus Robertson said, “Reports about the helmet-mounted display system are worrying. This is also the latest in a string of setbacks for the hugely expensive JSF program. With billions of taxpayers’ pounds already spent, the Ministry of Defense must come clean about these defects.”
In its defense, sources close to the development of the headgear stated, “The technology will be amazing when it is made to work effectively. But for now, there’s only so much data you can put in front of the pilot’s eyes before it all merges, especially at night.”
The company behind the development of this next-generation helmet, BAE Systems, has been dropped from the project and in its place, a US helmet called Gen 2 will be improved upon and turned into Gen 3, to be used by the RAF pilots.
Courtesy: Daily Mail