The Pentagon is suspending work on a second helmet for the F-35 jet in favor of exclusive use of the helmet developed by Israel’s Elbit Systems along with Rockwell-Collins.
American defense officials said it ditched the second helmet after Elbit-Rockwell made improvements in the helmet, including a better night vision camera, saving the Pentagon millions of dollars million needed to finish the other helmet that was developed by Britain’s BAE Systems.
“To date, more than 100 F-35 pilots have flown more than 6,000 flights and 10,000 hours with the helmet, and their feedback has been very positive,” said Lorraine Martin, Lockheed executive vice president and F-35 general manager. The new helmet will be introduced to the F-35 fleet in 2016.
The F-35 program office said the new “Gen 3″ version of the helmet developed by the Rockwell-Elbit joint venture since then would cost 12 percent less than previously estimated. The Gen 3 helmet will include an improved night vision camera, new liquid-crystal displays, and automated alignment and software improvements.
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