F-35 stealth fighter warplanes will soon have even more Israeli support for the project.
From 2016, all F-35’s will be equipped with hi-tech pilots’ helmets made by an Israeli company.
Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon announced this news in Jerusalem on Sunday. He said that Elbit Systems, together with its US partner Rockwell Collins, have been awarded a contract by the Pentagon and Lockheed Martin to supply helmets for the future versions of the Fighter.
Ya’alon stated that Israel Military Industries – a government owned company – was already deeply involved in the construction of the aircraft itself. “The choice of Elbit Systems to produce the pilots’ helmets is a vote of confidence in Israel’s defense industries and their people,” he added.
The Israeli daily, Yediot Aharanot, reported that Israel has already ordered 19 of the aircraft, and plans on buying more. The article continues:
“The new helmet, which is to be manufactured in the United States, is capable of putting flight data as well as data about weapons systems and intelligence before the pilot’s eyes.
The helmet allows the pilot to see images from the cameras on the plane, including on its nose. This allows the pilot to ‘see through’ the front of the plane and is very helpful in dogfights and in bombing targets on the ground.”
Lockheed Martin’s website says that the Israel Air Force is planning to de-commission its fleet of ageing F-15s and F-16s It is buying the F-35 will in order to ensure the country’s global competitiveness.
The F-35 has been designed to replace fighters in the US Air Force, Navy and Marines. The aircraft, which comes in conventional, vertical takeoff and aircraft carrier versions, has faced many production delays and cost overruns.
The program is already the most expensive in US military history with a price tag of $395.7 billion.