A NEW hi-tech helmet for soldiers with a see-through display to help pinpoint targets and waypoints is said to be performing better than expected in testing.
Defence contractor BAE Systems said its Q-Warrior helmet mounted display system – similar to the head-up display used by jet pilots – is already exceeding expectations in field tests being carried out by US military researchers.
A head-up display, or HUD, is a transparent display that presents data without requiring users to look away from their usual viewpoints.
Originally developed for military pilots but now used in commercial planes, cars, and computer gaming, a head-up display allows people to see information with their head “up”, rather than having to look down at instruments.
The Q-Warrior helmet has what looks like a pilot’s head-up display, but has been specially designed for soldiers on the ground.
Created by engineers at BAE Systems’ Electronic Systems business in Rochester, Kent, it is hoped to give soldiers and members of the special forces more real-time visual data than ever before.
The Q-Warrior’s high-resolution, see-through display allows waypoints, points of interest, and targets to be displayed over what a soldier can see in front of them in real life, and is hoped to increase awareness for the “dismounted soldier”.
It is expected to be used by section commanders, but could one day become a standard piece of kit for soldiers.
Paul Wright, Soldier Systems’ Business Development Lead at BAE Systems’ Electronic Systems in Rochester, said:: “Q-Warrior increases the user’s situational awareness by providing the potential to display ‘eyes-out’ information to the user, including textual information, warnings and threats.
“Other key features include enhanced night vision, waypoints and routing information, and the ability to track both personnel and assets.
“The biggest demand, in the short term at least, will be in roles where the early adoption of situational awareness technology offers a defined advantage.
“This is likely to be within non-traditional military units with reconnaissance roles, such as Forward Air Controllers/Joint Tactical Aircraft Controllers (JTACS) or with special forces during counter terrorist tasks.
“The next level of adoption could be light role troops such as airborne forces or marines, where technical systems and aggression help to overcome their lighter equipment.”
Many have compared the new helmets to the high-tech equipment used in films such as Iron Man. Mr Wright added: “Iron Man Stan presented an unachievable, invincible warrior capability but modern technology such as Q-Warrior is starting to bring some of that capability to the next generation of specialist soldiers.”