M-346 advanced jet trainer’s Helmet Mounted Display for the Polish Air Force’s F-16 Block 52+ pilots

Last year, during the Farnborough International Airshow 2012, I had the opportunity to fly with the M-346 “Master” advanced jet trainer simulator.

During that flight, I had the opportunity to try the M-346’s HMD (Helmet Mounted Display), designed by the VSI, the same firm that manufactures the JHMCS (Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System).

Built around the HGU-55P flight helmet, the new, futuristic device is currently being offered to the Polish Air Force to train student pilots destined to the F-16 Block 52+.

In fact, in connection with the advanced jet trainer tender recently launched by the Polish Ministry of Defence, Alenia Aermacchi has signed a series of agreements with the Polish aerospace industry covering  joint development of technologies, and the M-346, the most advanced jet trainer and Lead-in fighter trainer available on the market that has returned to flight on Aug. 22, after the precautionary grounding that followed the loss of the second prototype on May 11, is among the candidates for the fleet of new Polish Air Force trainers, to be delivered between 2015 and 2017.

Alenia Aermacchi has strengthened its footprint in Poland with collaboration agreements with the Polish aerospace industry. Such agreemets.

Indeed, the HMD would enable them to develop skills in the use of advanced weapons systems management in operations fully representative of modern combat aircraft, making their training even more cost effective.

According to Alenia Aermacchi, that is showcasing the MSPO – International Defence Industry Exhibition at Targi Kielce, the HMD is particularly useful in those missions where the trainee employs the Embedded Tactical Training System (ETTS) for sensor and weapons systems training.

“In these missions the HMD demonstrates its outstanding capability to augment the pilot’s Situational Awareness (SA), both in Air-To-Air and Air-To-Ground missions. Optically integrated with the M-346 Head-Up Display (HUD), the M-346 HMD provides training in the combined use of HMD and HUD provided information, employing both on and off boresight targeting techniques.

The M-346 HMD is particularly effective during off boresight “target tracking”; tactical symbology is displayed on the helmet visor and provides targeting and tracking information in direct view allowing the student to concentrate on performing tactical maneuvers and weapon release in pursuit of his mission objective.”

The HMD, that supports all the most common NVGs (Night Vision Goggles) can also be used to to train Weapon System Officers.

M-346 HMD close-up

Image credit: Alenia Aermacchi


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About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.