Farnborough Air Show

Raytheon and Gentex offer low-cost helmet sight

 - July 15, 2010, 4:10 AM

After making its international debut in May at SOFEX in Jordan, the Scorpion helmet-mounted sight is being shown by Raytheon and Gentex for the first time at a major airshow here at Farnborough. The Scorpion is a monocle-
based system developed by the Visionix division of helmet manufacturer Gentex, with systems integration by Raytheon.

The Scorpion is intended for use in both fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft. Integration is easy, with no avionics bay intrusion. It requires a single small interface control unit to link it to the aircraft’s central system, and  just one small magnetic sensor mounted in the cockpit to track the pilot’s head.

By using a monocle system the Scorpion achieves several major advantages over the full-visor concept. First, it is much cheaper to produce. Second, it fits onto a standard Gentex helmet, without further cost. And, while full-visor systems require one high-cost helmet for every pilot in a unit, the Scorpion is quickly interchangeable between helmets, meaning that fewer have to be acquired to provide a unit with full capability.

Other advantages are that the small size of the unit imposes no noticeable extra weight burden on the pilot’s head, an important factor on long or arduous missions. It has a low power requirement, and can be worn underneath standard night-vision goggles. It is very quick and easy to boresight the system with the aircraft’s sensors.

The Scorpion offers full day/ night operation and a high-resolution display with a field of view of 26-deg by 20-deg. It can be used to show a variety of imagery, from standard head-up display and ground data to infrared sensor video, DTED digital terrain data and JTIDS-type tactical displays. Advanced processing provides a fast refresh rate, in turn providing seamless imagery as the head moves, with no time lag. Alternatively, the display can be set to remain forward-facing while the pilot moves his or her head.

Being fully integrated with the aircraft’s avionics, the Scorpion provides fast and easy cueing, designation and hand-off of targets in air-to-air and air-to-ground roles. The interface control unit also includes 16 GB memory storage for post-flight debrief and battle damage assessment purposes.

The Scorpion has been supplied to the U.S. Air Force, and it is being pitched to the U.S. Air National Guard to be installed on the A-10 and F-16 fleets. It has also drawn interest in the export market.