The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA] Oct. 9 delivered the first factory-installed, dual-cockpit F/A-18F Super Hornet Joint Helmet-Mounted Cueing System (JHMCS) to the U.S. Navy, providing significant improvements to in-flight crew coordination.
The JHMCS allows flight crew members to rapidly acquire and designate a target simply by looking at it. The two-seat variant places a JHMCS helmet on both crew members, giving each the capability to aim weapons and sensors as well as a visual indication of where each crew member is looking.
Boeing delivered the enhanced aircraft to the VX-9 Vampires of Naval Air Weapons Station, China Lake, Calif., and is scheduled to deliver 77 of the two-seat JHMCS-equipped aircraft to the U.S. Navy over the next three years.
"The extension of the JHMCS capability into the aft cockpits of F/A-18 Hornets and Super Hornets has been eagerly awaited for several years," said Phil King, Boeing JHMCS program manager.
Warfighters used the JHMCS operationally for the first time during Operation Iraqi Freedom. By placing an aiming cross, projected on the helmet visor, over the desired target and pressing a button, pilots can quickly and easily aim weapons and sensors to designate and attack airborne or ground targets. JHMCS also displays tactical information, aircraft altitude, airspeed, gravitational pull and angle of attack on the visor to increase the crew members' situational awareness.
The inclusion of JHMCS in the aft seat of two-seat aircraft gives the weapons system officer the same weapons management capabilities as the pilot. The system vastly reduces the amount of required verbal discussion and improves the ability to react rapidly to targets and/or threats that are visually detected by either crew member.
Since 2000, Boeing has contracted for more than 2,500 systems. The company is the prime contractor and integrator for JHMCS. Vision Systems International, based in San Jose, Calif., is the major subcontractor.