Air Force Pilots to Get New High-Tech Helmets, Good for the Neck and Back, Too

LIFT Airborne Technologies USAF helmet 9 photos
Photo: USAF/Staff Sgt. Dana Tourtellotte
F-35 pilot helmet displayF-35 pilot helmet displayF-35 pilot helmet displayF-35 pilot helmet displayF-35 pilot helmet displayF-35 pilot helmet displayF-35 pilot helmet displayF-35 pilot helmet display
When we imagine the working life of an Air Force pilot, we generally imagine it as one filled with wonderful moments spent in a medium not accessible to most of us, but also, in some cases, extreme danger. That’s true, of course, but fighter pilots, too, are only human and prone to pretty much the same work-related injuries as regular office-goers experience.
Did you know, for instance, that because of the helmets they wear pilots experience neck and back pains, like us regular humans do? Well, they do, and the Air Force is finally planning to do something about it.

The helmet American fighter pilots now use traces its roots back to the 1980s, and aside from the fact it takes its toll on the pilots’ well-being, it’s old to the point of obsolete, and pretty much unusable in a proper fashion with the modern, high-tech pieces of equipment flying in the skies of the world.

“The legacy helmet was not originally designed to support advances in aircraft helmet-mounted display systems, causing pilots to fly with equipment not optimized for them, especially our female aircrew,” said in a statement Scott Cota, ACC Plans and Requirements branch aircrew flight equipment program analyst.

So a new one is in order, and this week the U.S. Air Force (USAF) announced the name of the company that is to develop this high-tech piece of equipment: LIFT Airborne Technologies. The full specs for it were of course not announced, but the main focus falls on “weight, pilot comfort, optimized fitment and protection, stability, optimized center of gravity, and integration with different helmet-mounted systems.”

The prototype of the helmet should be ready with enough time to spare as to allow a production contract to be offered in 2024. The size and value of the contract were not announced.
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Editor's note: Main photo shows LIFT helment, gallery shows images of the F-35 helmet.

About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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