The U.S. Air Force has moved forward with its fixed-wing helmet procurement effort after the military service chose a design from LIFT Airborne Technologies through a competitive solicitation.
USAF plans to hand down a decision on LIFT’s final prototype after the company completes additional studies, tests and updates of the technology, Air Combat Command said Friday.
The California-based pilot gear maker initially received an other transaction agreement in 2020 to develop a potential replacement for the branch’s aircrew helmet system that was based on a four-decade-old design.
“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 Scott Cota, an ACC program analyst.
Capt. Timothy James, a program manager at the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, noted that the service solicited more than 100 vendor designs through its AFWERX program and subsequently tested promising offerings from the private sector.
Proposals were evaluated against a set of criteria that includes weight, pilot comfort and capability to integrate with helmet-mounted equipment.
The branch expects to offer a contract for the production phase sometime in 2024 and intends to start its phased deployment of the new helmet with F-15E Strike Eagle pilots.