How to shoot down enemy craft - just by looking at them

Posted by Emma Woollacott

BAE Systems is testing a helmet that allows fighter pilots to shoot down a target simply by looking at it and saying 'fire!'

The Striker Integrated Headset contains optical sensors which allow the pilot to lock on to an enemy aircraft and which communicate with sensors within the cockpit. A head tracker identifies the pilot's direction of gaze with what BAE says is high accuracy.

Targets then pop up on the pilot's display, allowing him or her to select one and fire using voice commands.

BAE says it's one of the most complex systems in the world, providing flight reference data and weapon aiming through the pilot's visor.

Binocular Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) displays give a 40-degree field of view and can present both complex symbology and also TV-like images to the pilot, says BAE. Forward Looking Infra Red (FLIR) sensors can be combined with images from night vision aids and head mounted image intensifier sensors for flight at night and in all weathers.

The £250,000 helmet's head tracking system gives better than 1° of accuracy at all viewing angles, allowing the pilot to maintain a target visually and fire even at angular extremes such as the elusive 'over the shoulder' shot. "The HMS therefore truly provides a 'look and shoot' capability," says BAE.

Designed for use with, and tested in, the Eurofighter Typhoon, BAE says that because of its modular design it can be adapted for use with any type of aircraft, whether rotary or fixed wing. BAE says it's nearing completion of the test stage.