C4iSR: Air

Elbit to supply helmet-mounted displays for US Army helicopter crews

23 January 2019

The US Army is upgrading the HGU-56/P Rotary Wing Helmets (RWHs) of its helicopter crews with an Elbit-developed Common Helmet Mounted Display. Source: IHS Markit/Gareth Jennings

The US Army has selected Elbit Systems to satisfy its Air Soldier Common Helmet Mounted Display (CHMD) requirement, with a USD24.3 million contract awarded on 22 January.

The initial firm-fixed-price award will see Elbit Systems of America's subsidiary Elbit Fort Worth Inc providing an undisclosed number of helmets through to 21 January 2024. Further funding will be provided for additional orders, with the US Army planning to acquire 1,825 such helmets over a five-year ordering period.

Through its CHMD requirement, the US Army is looking to add a helmet to the Raytheon Air Soldier system developed to provide helicopter crews with enhanced situational awareness (SA).

As previously disclosed by the service, the CHMD is an advanced, see-through, high-definition, digital helmet mounted display (HMD) to support all US Army rotary-wing platforms, except the Boeing AH-64D Apache Longbow (currently being replaced by the AH-64E Apache Guardian). The display will be integrated onto the HGU-56/P Rotary Wing Helmet (RWH), modified to include a magnetic head tracker and other headborne Aviation Life Support Equipment (ALSE) equipment.

In securing the contract, Elbit beat competition from BAE Systems and Thales.

Air Soldier (sometimes referred to as Aviation Warrior) starts with the fitting of two multifunctional displays (MFDs) to the cockpit (one per pilot) to provide all of the mission processing capability. These replace several analogue gauges with modular digital interfaces that are all plug-compatible, meaning there is no need to re-qualify the aircraft.

These two MFDs are then augmented with two additional cockpit-mounted displays that have a smartphone look and feel to them. As well as the two MFDs and two cockpit-mounted displays, the pilots and crew members have modifications to their personal equipment, including a smartphone-sized computer that is typically worn on the vest.

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