Rafael of Israel has unveiled a helmet, nicknamed “mind reader”, at the ongoing Aero India exhibition here. The helmet, whose commercial name is Eyeball, is equipped with mounted sights. A tiny camera follows the pilot’s pupil and locks on-board weapons onto the pilot’s line of sight.
The helmet, developed by the company’s missile division, provides displays to the pilot regardless of where he is looking.
Company officials told FE: “The helmet has passed all development stages and was successfully tested by Israeli F-16 pilots. The Rafael helmet has several advantages over the Elbit helmet.” Rafael’s helmet, at 1.3 kg, is half the weight of Elbit’s and it does not require integration between the helmet and the cockpit, in contrast to the Elbit model. They added that the Rafael helmet would be between one-third and one-half cheaper than the Elbit’s.
In Bangalore, Rafael will also present an innovative air defence system it is offering to the Indian Air Force, based on the conversion of Python 5 and Derby air-to-air missiles into anti-aircraft missiles. The operational range of the Spider system is 15 km. The system includes a control cabin and radar system. Israel Aircraft Industries participated in developing the radar system.
Company officials said that the system had passed the early stage of the IAF’s $350 million air defence system tender, beating companies from Russia and South Africa. It will now compete against France’s MBDA Missile Systems.
Acording to defence ministry sources, the IAF will send a delegation next month to assess the system in operation.
Rafael’s profitable missile division registered $450 million in sales in 2004 and $500 million in orders. The division employs 1,500 workers. Rafael executives believe that the helmet’s earnings potential to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars. Pilots in all types of fighter jets and helicopters will be able to use the helmet.