HAI Convention News

Q-Sight gets mil customer, still being eyed for civil use

 - February 20, 2010, 6:16 AM

The new Q-Sight head-up display (HUD) from BAE Systems (Booth No. 1107) now has a launch customer in the military sector and the manufacturer
says it is actively engaged with prospective civil operators. Britain’s Royal Navy selected the helmet/headset-mounted HUD for its AgustaWestland Future Lynx helicopters last September and BAE is now in talks with several civil fleet operators and also police, emergency medical and homeland security operations.

According to BAE Systems, Q-Sight delivers enhanced “head- up, eyes-out” situational awareness for helicopter pilots, but at a fraction of the cost of more advanced HUDs now on combat aircraft. The Q-Sight family of clip-on displays will also weigh barely four ounces and will avoid center-of-gravity problems associated with other helmet-mounted systems.

The system is now in full production and has been flight tested on several civil helicopter types including various Bell models. BAE says that the system’s modular design means that it can be easily retrofitted to almost any helicopter, and the “plug-and-play” architecture also lends itself to future upgrades.

The initial family of new displays starts with the Q-Sight 100 model, providing basic day-and-night capability with a 30-degree monocular field of vision (FOV). The more advanced Q-250 unit will compare in performance to current binocular helmet-mounted displays. Along with the Q-150 and Q-200 models, it will have a 40-degree binocular FOV.

Q-Sight moves light to the display using holographic waveguide technology and is designed to work in conjunction with night-vision goggles. It promises brighter displays, a larger “exit pupil” (an area of around 35 mm where the light for the display makes contact with the eye) for pilot viewing and seamless transitions between day and night to increase pilot situational awareness and mission capability without the need to reconfigure the helmet.

The enlarged “exit pupil”  gives greater operational flexibility. For instance, it allows pilots to move their heads more without losing sight of the display. It also avoids the need to have helmets individually shaped for each pilot using a laser head scan.

According to BAE, the increased visibility and lightweight design minimize eye
and neck strain, common problems for pilots managing the demands of longer missions and increasingly complex rules of engagement. The display’s decreased size and weight gives pilots greater freedom of movement within the cockpit.

In addition to the display itself, which sits about an inch from the pilot’s eye, Q-Sight also consists of symbology generation, signal conditioning and illumination sources. It interfaces with the main aircraft database. Optional upgrades include a helmet tracker, binocular vision and a digital night-vision camera. The new system will also be ready to stream next-generation forward-looking infrared video.

Meanwhile, BAE also is now introducing its new Active Inceptor system to the civil helicopter market. The active sticks, which provide tactile cues to pilots’ hands to warn pilots when advised limits are reached, can be seen here at Heli-Expo and have already been selected for Sikorsky’s military UH-60M and CH-53K.