Published 13 September 2023

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DE&S has invested £40 million with the intention of developing a cutting-edge fighter jet helmet for pilots within the Typhoon fleet.

Striker II is considered one of the world’s most advanced helmets and displays all mission-critical data in colour on a pilot’s visor for enhanced situational awareness.

The helmet will provide pilots with an all-digital night vision system, reduced noise, unparalleled comfort and can be upgraded to meet new battlespace demands, all critical in what can be a highly complex and pressurised environment.

Under the £40 million contract with BAE Systems, specialist engineers are developing the helmet’s capabilities to produce a set of assets to undertake testing on at the company’s combat air site based in Warton in Lancashire.

DE&S Typhoon Delivery Team head, Lyndon Hoyle, said:

“The clear presentation of information to the pilot in the cockpit is critical to mission success in complex, high pressure situations. This investment represents a significant step towards maintaining the RAF Typhoon’s operational cutting edge into the future.”

The helmet would further enhance ongoing upgrades to Typhoon, including the provision of the world class ECRS Mk2 radar, to ensure the aircraft can continue its critical role in providing round the clock defence and security.

Air Cdre Nick Lowe, Assistant Chief of Staff Combat Air in the RAF, said:

“This contract demonstrates the maturity and progress of the initial design solution for Striker II. It not only meets the UK’s safety requirements by offering high levels of protection and survivability, it expands the situational awareness of the pilot and would increase Typhoon’s lethality. It is a major evolution of Striker I while using the existing interfaces with the aircraft which is reducing both risk and cost for future integration.”

The contract creates and supports more than 200 highly-skilled jobs at BAE Systems’ sites in Kent where the helmet is manufactured and at Warton.

Director Combat Air at DE&S, Air Vice-Marshal Phil Brooker, said:

“STRIKER II is a cutting-edge programme supporting more than 200 highly skilled roles at BAES as well as further specialised roles in the UK supply chain. We look forward to continuing to work closely with our partners to ensure we identify and provide the RAF war-fighter with the edge to protect the nation.”

Typhoon is an extremely agile, multi-role combat aircraft used in all the RAF’s current operations and are capable of being deployed for the full spectrum of air operations, including air policing, peace support and high intensity conflict. The jets are constantly available to respond to threats at a moment’s notice to defend UK airspace.

In total, the Eurofighter Typhoon programme sustains more than 20,800 jobs across the UK economy.