Sensors Midwest 2018: Helmet-Mounted Display System & The F-35 Take Flight

In the world of optical sensors, one of the most burgeoning markets is wearable cameras in every application from sports to police and security to military and aerospace. It has always been a well broadcast rumor, that just happens to be true most of the times, that the military develops (and hides) some of the most fantastic tech way before anyone else. Well, sometimes the developments are not so secret, yet highly fantastic. Case in point, the F-35 Fighter Jet and the Helmet Mounted Display System (HMDS) that keeps its pilot as one with the aircraft.


The fifth-generation F-35 Lightning II state-of-the-art fighter jet relies on a complex network of sensors to achieve advanced stealth with fighter speed and agility. Information from those sensors throughout the plane are fed to and displayed for to the pilot through the Helmet Mounted Display (HMD). The helmet provides the pilot with complete situational awareness, airspeed, altitude, direction, as well as all info related to a given mission on a standard display. The helmet also includes night vision capabilities via an integrated camera. Checkout a brief video of one pilot’s perspective on the HMD.

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Of course, the jet is a work of technological art as well. The F-35’s Distributed Aperture System (DAS) streams real-time imagery from six infrared cameras mounted around the aircraft to the helmet, allowing pilots to observe all events throughout the airframe. Lockheed Martin is the prime contractor for the F-35 while Rockwell Collins, ESA Vision Systems is the supplier of the HMD.



On Tuesday, October 16, 2018, at 9 am, at Sensors Midwest in Rosemont, IL, Rockwell Collins and Lockheed Martin will give a dual keynote presentation - “The World's Most Advanced Fighter Jet Helmet - from Development and Production to the Fight” - that discusses the design, development, and the pilot's perspective of the Helmet Mounted Display System (HMDS) for the F-35 Fighter Jet. This presentation will provide an overview of the development of the F-35 HMD and how pilots use its unparalleled capabilities.


You will be guided through all angles of the F-35 and HMD by two experts on the topic. They are Lockheed Martin Test Pilot Tony Wilson and Rockwell Collins Pr. Program Manager Ron Heberlein.


Tony "Brick" Wilson was born in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and raised in New Port Richey, Florida. He enlisted in the United States Navy in 1991 as a nuclear power technician and served aboard the fast attack submarine USS Boise (SSN 764). Later, Tony was selected for the Enlisted Commissioning Program where he graduated from Old Dominion University with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering and earned his commission as an Ensign.


Brick's operational military experience includes a combat tour in F/A-18Cs with VFA-87 where he deployed to the Mediterranean Sea and the Middle East in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and a department head tour flying F/A-18F with VFA-102 in the Far East. A graduate of the Air Force Institute of Technology with a M.S. in Aeronautical Engineering and the United States Naval Test Pilot School as a member of class 132; Tony started his test career as the F-35 ship suitability project officer at VX-23’s Integrated Test Force.


In June 2016, having completed 25 years in the Navy, Tony transitioned to civilian life and joined Lockheed Martin as a test pilot where he supports both the F-16 and F-35 programs. He has flown over 20 different types of aircraft including an experimental British Sea Harrier, the U-2 and the MiG-15. Brick has the distinction of being the first aviator to execute a shipboard arrestment when he successfully landed the F-35C aboard the USS Nimitz.


Ron Heberlein is a Pr. Program Manager at Rockwell Collins. He has led the design and development of military Helmet Mounted Display products since 2016 and started his work on the F-35 Helmet Mounted display program in 2012 as the lead mechanical engineer.


Ron has been involved with electronics design and opto-mechanical design since 2003 and has worked on Head-Up Displays, Enhanced Vision Sensors, and Helmet Mounted Displays for Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Gulfstream, Embraer, and Bombardier. Ron has a degree in Aerospace Engineering from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and holds patents in Heads-Up Display Alignment and Sensor Based Navigation Correction.


Okay, now that you are ready to take flight and learn more from these experts, you need to do that very popular and very easy two-step dance.

  1. Step One: register for Sensors Midwest, October 16 to 17, 2018
  2. Step Two: attend the keynote “The World's Most Advanced Fighter Jet Helmet - from Development and Production to the Fight”, Tuesday October 16, 2018, 9:00 am to 10:00 am.


Also, checkout the conference schedule for other great sessions and the exhibitor list and directory.



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