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The Military

Predator-Style Helmets Allow Pilots to See Through Planes 232

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the also-makes-you-look-super-badass dept.
nitroy2k writes "It is only the neck and shoulders that prove there is a human being in there somewhere. And this isn't any Star Trek or Final Fantasy kind of trick, but the next generation of RAF fighter pilots' look, which kinda makes you wish you were in the army." And you thought Air Wolf had badass headgear.
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Predator-Style Helmets Allow Pilots to See Through Planes

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  • Air Wolf (Score:5, Funny)

    by Cytlid (95255) on Sunday November 11, 2007 @01:20PM (#21314319)
    And you thought Air Wolf had badass headgear.

      You'll have all the kids thinking "Is Air Wolf a new game for the wii???".
    • by aktzin (882293)
      My skydiving instructor, whose last name is Wolfe, has a sticker on his helmet that says "Airwolfe". He was amused that I got the reference (the show was on when I was in high school).
    • by finkployd (12902)
      I'd buy it, but for the life of me the only real use I can think for the Wii controller would be for when Stringfellow Hawke plays the cello in his secluded mountain cabin.

      Finkployd
    • by CrazyJim1 (809850)
      Air Wolf was an arcade side scrolling shooter which was very fun but a quarter eater.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by tempaccount (1187657)
      I can't believe 30 year old technology is making the frontpage of slashdot. You do realize the Apache helicopter already does this. Heck it's even got 157 power zoom so the gunner can look at the moon and watch satellites go by. The pilot can look straight down at his crotch and see the ground go by underneath him. And if you think vertigo is a problem in a fixed wing aircraft, it's not, rotary wing pilots have adapted to that tech already.
  • This Isn't New (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I worked on a military aircraft program, and we had the same thing. A head-tracking helmet that displayed the video to the pilot and had an imposed an outline of the aircraft so you knew where you were looking.

    This is really just new packaging of an old idea.
  • army? (Score:5, Informative)

    by TrappedByMyself (861094) on Sunday November 11, 2007 @01:26PM (#21314373)
    which kinda makes you wish you were in the army

    So you could admire the cool helmets the Air Force, Navy, and Marine pilots have?
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Tablizer (95088)
      which kinda makes you wish you were in the army

      W's trying to lour us geeks into Iraq with cool gadgets. What's next, a Beowulf cluster of Linux tanks and a night with Natalie P.?
             
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward
        W's trying to lour us geeks into Iraq with cool gadgets. What's next, a Beowulf cluster of Linux tanks and a night with Natalie P.?

        but leave looking like goatse
             
    • by Dr. Spork (142693)
      I thought this development made RAF pilots wish they joined the army because at least in the army, you can do your job without looking like some doofus in a cylon costume. I admit, it's a pretty compelling argument!
    • by sco08y (615665)
      So you could admire the cool helmets the Air Force, Navy, and Marine pilots have?

      No, so you could become a warrant officer with MOS 153A, rotary-wing aviator.
  • The scenic view (Score:5, Interesting)

    by GaryOlson (737642) <slashdot@ga r y o l s o n . org> on Sunday November 11, 2007 @01:26PM (#21314375) Journal

    Seeing right through their own aircraft fuselage to the ground below...
    How many pilots will get vertigo the first time they look down thru their seats at the ground zipping by a few thousand feet below? I would. Will the masks include organic fluid caching and isolation?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by flyingfsck (986395)
      The ground doesn't zip when it is a few thousand feet below, even at mach 2. You need to be close for that effect.
    • by EaglemanBSA (950534) on Sunday November 11, 2007 @01:30PM (#21314417)
      Good point though, my brother is an airline pilot, but he's terrified of heights. He's fine, as long as he can't look down.
      • by eMartin (210973)
        Something tells me that would be a problem when trying to become a pilot.

        Personally, I am terrified when at the edge of a bridge or the roof of a building, but love flying and I have no problem looking straight down when in plane or helicopter. I guess for me it's more of a fear of falling.
        • Something tells me that would be a problem when trying to become a pilot.

          Personally, I am terrified when at the edge of a bridge or the roof of a building, but love flying and I have no problem looking straight down when in plane or helicopter. I guess for me it's more of a fear of falling.


          Not really. I am extremely afraid of heights but have flown supersonic jets and jumped out of a/c; it's all a matter of surroundings.
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by dshk (838175)
          You fear of instability. An aircraft is stable. If you sit in it in a seat you are in a stable situation. I haven't tried it but I guess even if you jump out of it with a parachute you feel safe, because the parachute and you together make a stable system (you can assume that you eventually open it, it opens successfully etc.). On the other hand if you stand on a 1 meter tall table you fear because you are in a physically instable position.
    • Well that's probably why you aren't a pilot.

      Besides at those altitudes the whole concept of ground and heights becomes more of a theoretical concept rather than a butt puckering reality. You know you are heigh up, but most of your references you're used to associating with hieghts are gone. Same goes for speed. 150mph seems like impending doom behind the wheel of a car. 600mph at 10,000ft seems like a leisurely pace.

    • Makes you wonder how many airplane crashes were caused by the introduction of proteinaceous solutions into the control systems?
    • by sco08y (615665)
      How many pilots will get vertigo the first time they look down thru their seats at the ground zipping by a few thousand feet below?

      I just did a jump from a blackhawk a few weeks ago. You sit with your legs dangling out and the ground beneath you. The vertigo's not that bad at all... the wind and the helicopter turning, that's another matter, but I think that's mostly a problem for passengers because they're not controlling it.
  • Army? (Score:4, Informative)

    by schwit1 (797399) on Sunday November 11, 2007 @01:26PM (#21314377)
    "... which kinda makes you wish you were in the army."


    The Army flies helicopters, not fixed-wing aircraft.

    • by G Fab (1142219)
      He is saying that the helmet is intimidating, so the Army joke means he is going away from the helmet.

    • by bagsc (254194)
      The Army pilots of the C-23 Sherpa, C-12 Huron, and UC-35 Citations would disagree with you.
  • by StarfishOne (756076) on Sunday November 11, 2007 @01:26PM (#21314381)

    And you thought Air Wolf had badass headgear.

    Thank you for that bit of nostalgia! Now I'm browsing YouTube for cool startup sequences and intro's of AirWolf again! :)

    What can I say more? Dom, give me the turbo's! :D

    • While as a kid, I loved Airwolf, looking back I cannot really say I do anymore. I mean, yes, it was the 80s, it was campy as hell, but it also has the rather interesting aftertaste of being a Bellisario show. When you look down this man's production list, which includes gems such as JAG, NCIS and Baa Baa Black Sheep, you have to wonder whether his primary concern is to make shows or whether he got his production money out of the DOD's propaganda funds.
    • ] ] And you thought Air Wolf had badass headgear.

      ] Thank you for that bit of nostalgia! Now I'm browsing YouTube for cool startup sequences and intro's of AirWolf again! :)

      If you watch the episode Moffett's Ghost, you'll learn Airwolf was programmed in AppleSoft BASIC.

  • +2 to fear bonus (Score:2, Insightful)

    by spineboy (22918)
    Just the thought of me being bombed or chased by someTHING that looked like this would make me think twice about it. That helmet looks fricken evil. If it's ever used {I really should say when if GWB :-( is still at the helm}, then advance patrols should drop paper flyers with the image of the fighters helmet on it, saying that these creatures will be bombing you - fear tactics.
    • by Dr. Spork (142693)
      Yeah, because ... what could people looking like that possibly be up to besides bringing democracy to my backwards little country? Suddenly it's all so plausible! I think I'll surrender right now!
  • So what's wrong with the cool '80s retro look of Air Wolf?
  • Earlier ... (Score:5, Informative)

    by foobsr (693224) * on Sunday November 11, 2007 @01:27PM (#21314389) Homepage Journal
    http://www.engadget.com/2007/11/10/new-helmet-allows-fighter-pilots-to-peer-through-the-jet/ [engadget.com]

    engadget, CA - 23 hours ago
    No, the headgear in the photo above wasn't some unused prototype created for The Terminator; rather, it's a snazzy new helmet designed to give fighter ...

    CC.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by foobsr (693224) *
      OK, I rephrase so that the average intellect may get a grip.

      A picture of the device can be found here: http://www.engadget.com/2007/11/10/new-helmet-allows-fighter-pilots-to-peer-through-the-jet/ [engadget.com]

      The link given in the summary is slashdotted, which means that there are too many hits for the server to cope with. A server, in this context ... WTF

      CC.
    • Re:Earlier ... (Score:4, Informative)

      by stu72 (96650) on Sunday November 11, 2007 @03:12PM (#21315139)
      Way earlier.. in fact, the original source material:

      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/technology/technology.html?in_article_id=492631&in_page_id=1965&ito=1490 [dailymail.co.uk]

      Why not just link to that in the first place?

      Reading 18 blog summaries to just get back to the original story is ridiculous. If you want to credit the guy who happened to tip you off, by all means, but stop wasting our time, link to the original article.

      And then of course there's the old saw about how blogs will replace newspapers - interesting that their original material often seems to come from them.

      I'm sure I'll get flamed with comments like, "but what about the blog writers ad revenue stream - how dare you cheat him out of his living!" - bullshit. What exactly is the blog writer adding to the equation here that entitles him to anything? The Daily mail reporter found & wrote the story, got quotes, graphics & photos and did the layout. The blog writer said, "Hey, this is cool, check it out". Or more likely said, "hey, check out what my blog buddy said about what his blog buddy said about what his blog buddy said about what his blog buddy said about this cool article in the newspaper"

      hilarious.
    • by ms1234 (211056)
      The green eyes are somewhat freaky :P Spooked me the first time I saw the picture.
  • by Fear the Clam (230933) on Sunday November 11, 2007 @01:33PM (#21314441)
    Within a couple of decades using a fighter aircraft with a human inside will be as quaint as using a missile with pigeons as the guidance system [wikipedia.org].
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by vanadium213 (576524)
      Right, I am surprised that we are not moving more quickly in this direction right now. An unmanned fighter could do way crazier acrobatics than one with a fragile human in it, could stay in flight far longer (with in flight refuelings) and probably be better at a lot of other things I cannot think of right now.

      We need small unmanned robotic subs also.
      • Never gonna happen, not so long as the Generals are still human. You don't get ahead in the armed forces commanding a bunch of autonomous or semi-autonomous machinery; you get ahead by commanding large numbers of troops willing to lay down their lives for God and Country. It'a all about the Surrogate Warrior.
      • Is it war if it's just machines (not even sentient robots) fighting? I mean, what happens? Two countries throw enough scrap metal around while no one is really in danger? This would be good, but it misses the point of war.
  • slashdotted already? (Score:4, Informative)

    by wizardforce (1005805) on Sunday November 11, 2007 @01:38PM (#21314489) Journal
    So pilots in these aircraft won't have as many blindspots as are in current aircraft? Are they planning on using this on current aircraft or as an add-on to future ones because I thought the F-22 Raprtor was the last plane in future production that actually had a pilot rather than a UAV type craft or was that just for testing?
  • cosmetic appeal (Score:3, Insightful)

    by xPsi (851544) * on Sunday November 11, 2007 @01:43PM (#21314539)
    The functionality of this helmet is impressive, but I do take issue with the idea that because it looks good (does it?) it "kinda makes you wish you were in the army." There are potentially a lot of reasons to want to be in the military, but the way a helmet LOOKs should NOT be one of them.
    • by mangu (126918)
      There are potentially a lot of reasons to want to be in the military, but the way a helmet LOOKs should NOT be one of them.


      I think you didn't get the idea in the assertion "it kinda makes you wish you were in the army"


      That was meant for actual Air Force pilots who know that, if they were in the Army, they wouldn't have to wear those helmets...

    • Re:cosmetic appeal (Score:4, Insightful)

      by meringuoid (568297) on Sunday November 11, 2007 @04:07PM (#21315651)
      There are potentially a lot of reasons to want to be in the military, but the way a helmet LOOKs should NOT be one of them.

      No, but it is one of them nonetheless. Militaries have always recruited in part on having a really smart uniform in which you'd look really, really good - that one goes back millennia. And I reckon the opportunity to wear a badass TIE-fighter style helmet with awesome cyber-vision kit will indeed be a bonus for RAF recruitment. That thing is really cool.

  • kind of a weird tag line - but basically the US built Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) which the UK is buying has this feature for all the pilots that are lucky enough to get to fly this beast - most cool - although it might be a good ticket to air sickness :-)
  • pfft (Score:5, Funny)

    by Digitus1337 (671442) <lk_digitus@hotmC ... m minus caffeine> on Sunday November 11, 2007 @01:50PM (#21314595) Homepage
    Jerks have been using these things in first person shooters for years.
  • ...couldn't they have used a more sinister look. Now the pilot just look surprised. "Hey, cool, I can see my house from here!".
    The tech is cool though.

    .haeger

  • by RabidMonkey (30447) <canadaboy@gmail.c3.1415926om minus pi> on Sunday November 11, 2007 @01:53PM (#21314613) Homepage
    Since when do 'The Terrorists' have fighters?

    With the cold war over, and the major super powers having no one to have air battles with, is it really necessary to spend huge amounts of money to fight an enemy that doesn't exist? I mean, back in the Cold War, it made sense-ish, but since the current battle is against "terror", and "terror" doesn't have an air force ...

    Granted - the technology is cool, and it's good to have somewhere to spend money to research tools like this, which I'm sure have other, less militaristic uses, but why should military spending dictate research?

    Or is the world planning to gang up on China, and just not telling us?
    • by GammaKitsune (826576) on Sunday November 11, 2007 @02:05PM (#21314699)
      If Civilization has taught me nothing, it's that you should always upgrade your military technology as much as possible, even when you don't seem to need it. Also, Gandhi is a huge jerk.
    • by Thirdsin (1046626) on Sunday November 11, 2007 @02:45PM (#21314971)

      With the cold war over, and the major super powers having no one to have air battles with, is it really necessary to spend huge amounts of money to fight an enemy that doesn't exist? I mean, back in the Cold War, it made sense-ish, but since the current battle is against "terror", and "terror" doesn't have an air force ...

      It's not so much about getting ready for war, as it is deterrence. Making sure the potential aggressor is aware of the risk so that he refrains from aggression. (See Iran). You don't need another cold war for a reason to have bigger guns than the next guy...
      • by dbIII (701233)
        In that case you are talking about the potential defender - pre-emption and all that. They are not an "agressive" threat. If we have to wait for Iranian forces to move all the way through hostile Iraq, belligerant Syria and most likely by then complete basket case Lebanon to attack Israel we would have to wait a very long time. The same holds for current Iranian missile tech as seen in the recent war in Lebanon where some Iranian missiles were used with little effect.

        A loud loony as a figurehead Presiden

    • by wjsteele (255130) on Sunday November 11, 2007 @02:49PM (#21314997)

      With the cold war over, and the major super powers having no one to have air battles with


      Right... whenever you have more than one country who thinks they are a superpower, you have a good chance that there will be a war.

      A good country that want's to remain around needs to have a strong defense. Just because the current battlefield isn't so obvious doesn't mean the next one won't be.

      Bill
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by T-Bone-T (1048702)

      why should military spending dictate research?
      You prepare for the war you are going to fight, not for the war you are fighting.

      The whole point of having such badass weapons is so the US can strike when and where it chooses. It is part of the military's doctrine to take action rather than react.
    • by mikael (484)
      The development for the "next generation" Eurofighter [wikipedia.org] has been going on for the past 25 years. Funding was approved back in the mid 1980's. At this time, we still had a Cold War with Eastern Europe, and the threat of dodgy Middle Eastern countries.
    • by meringuoid (568297) on Sunday November 11, 2007 @04:05PM (#21315625)
      With the cold war over, and the major super powers having no one to have air battles with, is it really necessary to spend huge amounts of money to fight an enemy that doesn't exist? I mean, back in the Cold War, it made sense-ish, but since the current battle is against "terror", and "terror" doesn't have an air force ...

      The Russians are probing European air defences again; I think it was just last month one of their bombers was intercepted over the North Sea by the new RAF Typhoons. Used to happen all the time in the Cold War - just testing how watchful the West really is, how quick to respond to an intruder. Nothing outright hostile, just a... friendly... reminder that they're there. North Korea is opening up to outside business investment and to tourism from the South to Mt Paektu, but on the other hand they've been playing with nukes lately, so that one could go either way. Not so long ago there was the war in Yugoslavia, right on our doorstep, yet little got done about it till the Yanks got involved - that was embarrassing. Belarus is run by a weirdo who keeps trying to re-establish the Soviet Union despite the fact that the Russians want as little to do with him as possible. The president of Turkmenistan is an egomaniac who makes Kim Jong Il look positively humble, though he seems content to keep to his own frontiers. Any day now our esteemed allies could drag us into a war with Iran. And it's probably only a matter of time before we have to do something about Zimbabwe.

      Sure, today we're mostly fighting Iraqi rebels, against whom the air force can do relatively little - but that won't be the case forever. Britain gets into an awful lot of fights.

    • by c6gunner (950153)
      Si vis pacem, para bellum.

      China, Russia, North Korea, Iran....who knows where the next conflict will arise? And who cares. If the crime rate in my city goes down, we don't respond to it by firing half the police force, or by turning them into meter-maids. If you want peace, prepare for war.
    • by iamwahoo2 (594922)
      The military is going away from doing this kind of work. Now we pay for contractors to do this kind of work. So before we could at least give stuff back to the general public (GPS), now we allow Contractors to claim proprietary rights to all of the products of the research that we funded.
  • by SpectreBlofeld (886224) on Sunday November 11, 2007 @02:00PM (#21314673)
    Link to the original Daily Mail article: The Terminator-style helmets that allow fighter pilots to see through their planes [dailymail.co.uk]

      Note to submitters and Slashdot editors: Don't link to blogs. They get Slashdotted.

      It's especially shiatty when a blogger doesn't even provide a link to the article he's pulling his text and images from.

      Interesting how the blogger switched the referenced Schwarzenegger character of choice from The Terminator to the Predator in his 'article' to make it appear as original content.
  • This is just silly (Score:2, Insightful)

    by popo (107611)
    The weak link in this weapon is the human. Get him/her out of the plane altogether.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      The weak link in this weapon is the human. Get him/her out of the plane altogether.

      I wonder why this makes me think of
      - Do you want to play Chess?
      - No, I want to play global thermonuclear war.

  • another photo (Score:3, Informative)

    by TheSHAD0W (258774) on Sunday November 11, 2007 @02:09PM (#21314731) Homepage
    http://www.rockwellcollins.com/news/page8813.html [rockwellcollins.com]

    Clicky for bigness.
  • by davidoff404 (764733) on Sunday November 11, 2007 @02:34PM (#21314901)
    Instead of driving up the ad revenue on some asshat's (now slashdotted) blog, how about we link to the original article in the newspaper?

    The Terminator-style helmets that allow fighter pilots to see through their planes [dailymail.co.uk]
  • In almost all current attacks nowadays, you have a few high-tech stealth planes taking radars out, followed by (often weeks) of bomb delivery with almost no danger from the ground. When did a you last hear about a fighter going in a dog fight at supersonic speeds? Is there a point in making anything better than a F16? Wouldn't it make more sense to focus on making a cheap fighter plane? Make it slow, robust,non-picky for landing conditions and fuel. Any weapons platform will cost less if it doesnt have
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by smitth1276 (832902)
      That's the whole point of the JSF... cost effectiveness. It is one modular plane with 3 variants: a traditional fighter, a STOVL marine version, and a more rugged carrier version with a hook, etc. It is designed to be one plane that can be produced for all branches (hence the term "Joint" Strike Fighter), which will lower production costs. It will replace pretty much every fighter-like aircraft in use, except for the F-22.

      This plane will be the "high-tech stealth plane" taking radars out. And if it is
    • by FSWKU (551325)

      Make it slow, robust,non-picky for landing conditions and fuel.

      Already got you covered. [wikipedia.org]
  • It sounds more like the "see-through" cockpit of the YF-19 [wikipedia.org] in Macross Plus.
    • by blincoln (592401)
      ...or the liquid-nitrogen-cooled (?) VR helmets that the pilots of the stealth fighters in Interceptor [imdb.com] (1992) used. "I can see you, but you can't see me!" Poor Jurgen Prochnow.
  • Old Tech (Score:4, Informative)

    by kunwon1 (795332) * <dave.j.moore@gmail.com> on Sunday November 11, 2007 @03:41PM (#21315393) Homepage
    US Pilots have had this for a few years at least, it's called JHMCS, Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System.

    http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/systems/aircraft/systems/jhmcs.htm [globalsecurity.org]
    • by chanrobi (944359)
      The point of the submission is that this new helmet allows you to see through the plane. The JHMCS you linked to does not. Your post is 100% wrong.
  • by evilviper (135110) on Sunday November 11, 2007 @03:57PM (#21315547) Journal
    The helmet isn't "Predator-Style" in the slightest. No thermography vision at all. And more to the point, even if it had it, that certainly wouldn't allow you to "look through an airplane". Moron bloggers and the tabloids just saw a helmet that was ugly and thought of Predator.

    It's really closest to a VR helmet, hooked up to cameras on the F-35 JSF to give pilots a 360 view.
  • Was this just an excuse to use the helmet story icon?
  • So uh, couldn't this be routed through some sort of radio interface? With this technology and a few more that already exist, what makes it necessary for the pilot to be in the plane? Is 72ms of latency really going to make that big a difference? Enough to warrant putting a life at risk?
    • by nagora (177841)
      So uh, couldn't this be routed through some sort of radio interface?

      We're jammin'. Hope you like jammin' too...

  • by Thagg (9904) <thadbeier@gmail.com> on Sunday November 11, 2007 @06:32PM (#21316667) Journal
    Or maybe a quarter-measure.

    Fighter planes design is very compromised by the requirement that the pilot be able to see out the canopy. Typically, you find the cockpit cantaleivered way out in front of the center of gravity. In more recent planes, the requirements of stealth require dramatic measures to enable vision from the cockpit while still maintaining a low radar profile. I feel, too, that in any serious war you're going to find that the easiest way to bring down an airplane is to blind the pilot with lasers.

    So, put the pilot right in the middle of the airplane in an opaque cockpit. Put a large number of wide-bandwidth sensors on the plane that would enable the pilot to see better than he could with his own eyes, certainly over a wider frequency and contrast range. You could armor this cockpit much more easily, it could be far more stealthy, and it could be far more structurally sound. You could have redundant sensors that could be deployed if the primary sensors are blinded.

    Now, some might say that we should go all the way and put the pilots on the ground -- and they have a point. But, I think that the amount of bandwidth available inside the plane would be far greater than you could ever hope to transmit securely over the air.

    Thad Beier

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