Making Progress on F-35 Helmet, But

Pentagon acquisition chief Frank Kendall said the F-35 strike fighter program is making progress on the aircraft’s sophisticated pilot helmet, but is continuing to fund a less-capable alternative as a backup, just in case, reported Reuters. Speaking during a Reuters-sponsored symposium in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 4, Kendall said he was still hopeful the helmet would function as envisioned, fusing data from the aircraft’s many sensors. He also wants to see the helmet’s cost come down. Rockwell Collins and Israel’s Elbit are developing the helmet, while BAE Systems in maturing the alternative design in case the primary one is not ready on time to meet the F-35’s fielding schedule. Last September, Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan, current F-35 program executive officer, said the main helmet was facing developmental challenges and was still “rudimentary” in its capability.