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New fighter pilot helmet delivers night vision without goggles

Jon Fingas, @jonfingas
July 16, 2014
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Fighter pilots have access to helmets with amazing abilities. However, they still have to strap on heavy night vision goggles to fly in the dark -- an all too literal pain in the neck. Much to aircrews' relief, BAE Systems wants to make that clunky headgear a distant memory. Its brand new Striker II helmet includes a night vision camera that projects its footage on to the visor's high-resolution display, giving the pilot a good look at the outside world without the need for extra equipment. The tech should be far more comfortable during lengthy missions, especially in sharp turns where G-forces make any added weight feel that much worse.

That's not the only party trick, either. An array of lights on the back of the Striker II help guide a head-tracking system that keeps projected information in close sync with head movements; a pilot caught in a dogfight won't have to wait crucial moments for flight info to drift into view. The gotcha for any aspiring aces? BAE hasn't said just when it expects the Striker II to go into service, or who might be a customer. The original Striker is currently in use by air forces flying Eurofighter Typhoons and Saab Gripens, though, so it makes sense that they'd be some of the first to line up.

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