The Lockheed Martin F-35 is one of the most technologically advanced aircrafts in the world, but there’s a common piece of equipment that this insane fighter was designed around — its helmet. Yes, the F-35 Lightning II was built with the helmet as one of their (the marines?) focus points. With that being said, this isn’t some ordinary helmet. With a cost between $400,000-$500,000 each, these head pieces pack some serious tech.
The helmet-mounted display system, or HMDS, replaces the display-suite-mounted head-up display used in the earlier fighters. All the information a pilot needs for their missions — airspeed, warnings, target information — gets projected on the visor, which effectively increases responsiveness. One of the most badass features is the Distributed Aperture System. The DAS essentially gives the pilot x-ray vision, with the help of six infrared cameras that allow the pilot to “look through” the airframe.
The F-35 project is the most expensive military weapons system in history. Over the course of its lifetime, the project will cost around $1.5 trillion — yes, TRILLION! With all that money being shelled out, there are many flaws still apparent; mainly from Lockheed being able to design, test, and produce the aircraft at the same time, instead of just focusing on fixing the defects before production.
Along with the design flaws, there is an unreal amount of code required for the F-35 to function at full capability. A fully functional F-35 needs 8.5 million lines of code, that doesn’t even include the 10 million additional lines needed for the computers to maintain the jet. The biggest question for Lockheed left to answer is: When will a fully operational F-35 take flight?