Thursday, January 6, 2011

Now, a helmet that can shoot down enemy planes

British military pilots will soon don a new helmet which will allow them to shoot down enemy jets by just looking at them - a breakthrough that could put an end to the century-old concept of the aerial dogfight.

The 'Striker Integrated Display Helmet' is fitted with tiny optical sensors that pick up when the pilot locks onto enemy aircraft. They are then picked up by further sensors in the cockpit, allowing pilots to fire a missile to a target.

According to experts, the innovative 250,000-pound headset marks one of the biggest leaps forward in attack capabilities in military history, the Daily Mail reported.

All a pilot has to do is glance at an enemy aircraft and then steer a missile towards it with his, or her, mind. Targets pop-up in the pilot's visor, at which point he can select by voice command and fire. As long as the enemy's aircraft is in sight - whether that be below, above or to either side - a missile can be directed towards it.
The breakthrough is said to have brought to an end the century-old concept of the aerial dogfight, in which one plane must be directly behind another in order to hit it with firepower.

"It means the end of the dogfight,' leading RAF pilot Mark Bowman was quoted as saying.

"Traditionally you have to get behind an aircraft to lock on. With this, I steer the weapons with my head."

The helmet has been developed by Britain's BAE Systems and has been subjected to extensive flight trials in RAF Typhoon planes.

A spokesperson for BAE said: "An advanced optical head tracker is integrated into the helmet system to provide a high accuracy/low latency solution for low, medium, and high altitude operations. While the system has been designed for the Eurofighter Typhoon, its modular design can be applied to all platforms, both rotary and fixed wing."