Airmen enhance F-15E capabilities with helmet-mounted cueing system

by Tech. Sgt. Tammie Moore
4th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

8/13/2010 - SEYMOUR JOHNSON AIR FORCE BASE, N.C. (AFNS) -- Theconcept is like something out of a movie -- the ability to find atarget from a jet cockpit with the naked eye and lock onto it simply byfixing your gaze upon it. This science fiction concept has become areality at the 336th Fighter Squadron.

The 4th Operations Support Squadron aircrew flight equipmenttechnicians, who support the 336th FS, have spent the past few monthsequipping pilots with the Joint Helmet-Mounted Cueing System.

The JHMCS integrates a magnetic helmet mounted tracker that determineswhere the pilot's head is pointed with a miniature display system thatprojects information onto the pilot's visor. Together, the head trackerand visor display act as a targeting device that can aim sensors andweapons wherever the pilot is looking.

"JHMCS is a force multiplier that significantly improves the speed andagility with which F-15E (Strike Eagle) aircrew can find, fix, track,target and engage on the battlefield," said Lt. Col. Charles Wallace,the 4th Operations Squadron commander. "It's the next step in advancedsensor integration and man-machine interface in the cockpit."

"The JHMCS interface provides visual information from the aircraft suchas basic flight parameters, sensor and targeting information from thecrewmate and other aircraft's location and targeting information," saidCapt. Matt Swanson, the 336th Fighter Squadron Weapons Flightcommander. "It puts needed information in front of your eye so that youcan quickly find those locations on the ground, and maneuver theaircraft to support the ground commander."

The F-15E pilot's use of the system enhances the aircrew's ability toengage threats facing ground troops and reduce collateral damage.

"It allows F-15E aircrew to provide unparalleled support to the groundtroops in the close-air-support environment," Captain Swanson said."The crew will be able to quickly cue sensors and identify friendlylocations. The enhanced aircrew coordination and seamless systemintegration will increase accuracy while shortening the employmentchain."

Although aircrew flight equipment technicians and aircrew members hadto overcome some initial challenges in equipment maintenance andtraining, the implementation process has gone smoothly.

"Everyone involved is fully aware of the importance of getting thisabsolutely right as the (members of the 366th FS) prepare for theirupcoming (air and space expeditionary force) deployment," ColonelWallace said.

There is a huge sense of pride in the opportunity for the Rockets to bethe first F-15E squadron to bring the JHMCS capability to Afghanistan,and the colonel said he's confident that they will prove the JHMCScombat value immediately.

In fact, the expectation is that once proven, JHMCS' combat utilitywill help provide the leverage necessary to fully fund F-15E JHMCSintegration.

"We are definitely looking forward to the possibility of achieving thefull synergy and capability of JHMCS by outfitting all F-15E pilots and(weapon system officers) (on base) in the future," Colonel Wallacesaid.

The aircrew members recognize the effort Seymour AFB Airmen have putinto the successful implementation of the JHMCS at the 336th FS.

"The JHMCS modification has only been possible with the hard work ofthe aircrew flight equipment technicians, maintainers and avionicsspecialist Airmen," Captain Swanson said.


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