Lockheed Martin has brought a cockpit simulator for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter to allow CANSEC visitors to experience some of the benefits that the aircraft offers. Although the simulator is an unclassified version of the real cockpit, it nevertheless allows the demonstration of the F-35’s stealthy characteristics and its high levels of situational awareness.
“It’s a new generation of fighter,” explained Billie Flynn, Lockheed Martin senior experimental test pilot. “I can come and go in the entire battlespace with impunity.”
While stealth is perhaps the most obvious advantage of the F-35, it also introduces situational awareness levels unmatched by other aircraft. A single large screen dominates the cockpit, divided into two principal displays that provide a wealth of information.
The helmet worn by the F-35 pilot can display imagery from the distributed aperture system of infrared sensors placed strategically around the airframe – in effect, allowing the pilot to look through the aircraft’s skin.
Flynn, a Canadian with long experience in the CF-188, F-16 and Typhoon, added: “Before I could see 60 miles in front of me. Now I can see everything around me, on the ground and in the air.”