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When the DoD launched the acquisition process for the F-35 Lightning II, they invigorated the defense industry world-wide, creating an influx of new technologies, among them, the F-35 helmet.

The helmet’s advanced technology equips a pilot with critical information on the helmet’s visor and cooperates with the F-35’s communication systems in order to form a clear picture of the operating environment.

Equipped with its own Display Management Computer Hardware operating system, the helmet enables pilots to toggle through different modes of data visualization. “The helmet mounted display (HMD) allows critical flight data to be viewable anywhere I look,” said Marine Corps Major John “IKE” Dirk, a test pilot and the F-35B DT-III Officer-In-Charge. “In addition to the aircraft’s flight symbology, I can display tactical data and even live night vision video. The helmet helps me find friendly and enemy aircraft, locate targets on the ground, and can even point out a ship. It is fully integrated into the aircraft systems and enables a seamless transition between tactical display and the outside world,” he added.

According to, these technological advancements will save military expenditures. The use of laser scanning technology creates an exact replica of a pilot’s skull, thereby fabricating a portable styrofoam helmet liner that is a custom-designed helmet for each pilot. This styrofoam cap fits into any size helmet, enabling a pilot to take the helmet liner from squadron to squadron for use throughout his or her career, optimizing the flexibility of the pilot flight equipment inventory, eliminating risk of damage to helmets during squadron transitions, and reducing investments in large inventories of helmets.

The new development brings to the table high situational awareness and equips the pilot with an unparalleled advantage to the tactical environment. Commanders at sea, in the air or on the ground immediately receive information collected by the F-35’s sensors via data link empowering them with an instantaneous, high-fidelity view of ongoing operations, making the F-35 a formidable force multiplier while enhancing coalition operations.