Navy upgrades pilot helmet-mounted components for F/A-18 and EA-18G, increasing safety, readiness
The Naval Aircrew Systems Program Office (PMA-202) is leading the design and modification of the F/A-18 and EA-18G pilot helmet-mounted components of the Improved Joint Helmet-Mounted Cuing System (IJHMCS).
The Navy awarded a $16.8 million contract July 28 to Collins Elbit Vision Systems for the design and development of the IJHMCS, making the system lighter in weight with a better center of gravity to reduce potential for pilot back and neck injuries. The program office plans to field the IJHMCS in 2025.
“This upgrade will significantly reduce head and neck health issues for our aircrews that are associated with the legacy JHMCS system, while providing improved display capabilities and reliability for a critical warfighting system,” said Capt. Carey Castelein, PMA-202 program manager.
The IJHMCS team is focusing on strategies that allow for easier updates, make obsolescence issues easier to address, and reduce the need for a total system upgrade in the future. The team will also oversee the design and modification of the helmet-mounted components of the legacy JHMCS and JHMCS NVCD in a technology refresh that includes a single high-definition day and night color display.
“The day and night capability associated with IJHMCS will not only provide our aircrews with a lightweight, digital solution, but will also provide increased situational awareness throughout missions and improved reliability, as the aviators will not be required to remove and replace system components in flight,” said Brad Schieferdecker, PMA-202 vision systems team lead.
The IJHMCS program will leverage efforts from the Air Force Next Generation Fixed Wing (NGFW) helmet program by optimizing the new lightweight center of gravity display unit mounted on the NGFW helmet shell.
The Naval Aircrew Systems Program Office (PMA-202) analyzes, develops, and delivers innovative solutions that optimize the effectiveness of warfighters, ensuring they are equipped with systems that directly support the aircrew, aviation maintainers, and aircraft passengers in the performance of their missions. The PMA-202 portfolio consists of personal protective equipment, combat survivability and perseverance, physiological episode protection, visual situational awareness, ejection and crash survivability and egress, and chemical biological defense exposure protection programs.