You’ve probably heard the term Helmet Mounted Display or HMD being thrown around but had no idea what it meant. Is it a camera on your helmet? Is a screen mounted on your helmet feeding information? Well if you want to know what exactly a Helmet Mounted Display is and what it does, this is the perfect article for you.
What Is A Helmet Mounted Display
The HMD is basically a device that is used to feed information to the pilot of an aircraft. The device is planted right on the helmet so that the pilot can see the information and understand it without having to adjust anything. It is more or less like a monocle planted on the helmet, but instead of it correcting one’s vision, it is a screen with a myriad of information. The scope is more or less similar to that of Head up-Displays on an aircrew’s visor or reticle. Although one major disparity between a Head-Up Display and Helmet Mounted Display is that the HUD is used in commercial, corporate and military aviation but the HMD is almost exclusively in military aircraft.
Uses of Helmet Mounted Display
As mentioned, the HMD is mostly used for military purposes. However, it is flexible and can serve different functions.
- The HMD uses the head angle as a pointer to direct air-to-air and air-to-ground weapons seekers or other sensors to a target. All the pilot has to do is point his head at the target and actuate a switch via HOTAS controls. Before they came into the picture, the pilot had to align the aircraft to shoot at a target.
- The HMD is also essential in displaying targeting and aircraft performance information to the pilot, for example, altitude, target range, airspeed, weapon seeker status, “g”, horizon line to the flight path vector, turn/bank indicators, angle of attack and more. This way, the need to look inside the flight deck is eliminated, and therefore the pilot can remain alert with his head up.
- Again, the HMD eliminates the need to look inside the flight deck because sensor video is displayed. The pilot can view outside terrain using sensor video in degraded visual conditions.
Generally, a Helmet Mount Display provides the pilot with situational awareness and an enhanced image of the scene which minimizes distractions and also helps them focus on the task at hand especially in high-pressure situations as is with air combat.
Pros of Using A Helmet Mount Display
For such cutting-edge technology to be used by the military, it has to bring a lot of benefits to the one using it. For example, it makes things easier for the pilot. While not many people have had the chance to sit in the cockpit of a military aircraft while in action, from the outside looking in, it looks like a high-pressure place to be. With the Helmet Mount Display, the job is easier for the pilot because they have every vital piece of information right in their face. In addition to that, targeting weapons is also easier because all you have to do is turn your eye to the direction you want it to go.