Alenia Aermacchi Tests Helmet Mounted Display on T-346A
As part of the qualification and certification program for the supply of the T 346A (the Italian Air Force version of the M-346 trainer aircraft), Alenia Aermacchi did perform a flight test activity with the Helmet Mounted Display (HMD) system installed on the 3rd series production T-346A aircraft. The flight test activity was held in the week from 18 to 22 December 2011 at Torino Caselle airport, in Italy.
During this activity, a total of 7 flights were executed, with very positive results, confirming the successful cockpit and avionics integration of the HMD system into the M-346. Some of the flights were performed also in night conditions using the HMD in Night Configuration.
Alenia Aermacchi’s test pilots commented: “The HMD system demonstrated to have great potentialities and “fit for the training purpose”. Various characteristics such as high operational comfort levels, ease of integration and a great flexibility of use have been really appreciated.”
The projected symbology was sharp and clearly visible, creating almost no fatigue; at night the same characteristics were replicated so increasing significantly the situation awareness of the pilot. Finally, ease of connections and the ability to "customization options" of various symbology formats made this object very promising operationally and training wise”.
The HMD is designed to be easily configured by the aircrew so as to cover the needs for both night and day operations through a modular architecture approach. The HMD system, indeed, is built around a standard HGU-55P helmet to which a display module is added, depending on the needs for night or day operations. In particular, the Night Module consists of an add-on unit mounted on standard NVG (NVG Eyepiece Kit), commonly used by many armed forces worldwide, capable to display HMD symbology overlaid on NVG imagery. The NVG Eyepiece Kit is capable to display color symbology.
During night operation, the HMD provides the capability to present aircraft information projected into the pilot eye along with NVG imagery. In the M-346 aircraft the HMD is installed in both front and rear cockpits and is fully integrated with the avionics suite, in order to support training for Navigation and Attack modes, including the ability to cue sensors and weapons during day and night missions.
The successful integration of the HMD system in the M-346 gives the green light for the imminent production deliveries of the systems to Italian Air Force, as part of the T-346A Full Trainer configuration suite.
The M-346 is the only Advanced Trainer that comprises the HMD, in both Night and Day configuration, rendering it the unique platform that can be used to train future fighter pilots also for this complex mission system.