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Digital eyepiece increases capabilities of F-16 pilots

Maj. Casey Minor, 114th FW pilot, tries on the digital eye piece add-on that increases F-16 pilots night flying capabilities at March Air Reserve Base, CA, Jan. 17.

Maj. Casey Minor, 114th FW pilot, tries on the digital eye piece add-on that increases F-16 pilots night flying capabilities at March Air Reserve Base, CA, Jan. 17. This upgrade highlights the Air Guard's push toward full spectrum readiness by improving current war fighting equipment. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Luke Olson)

Master Sgt. Josh Sells, 114th Operations Support Squadron aircrew flight equipment specialist, attached a digital eyepiece add-on to a helmet at March Air Reserve Base, CA, Jan. 17

Master Sgt. Josh Sells, 114th Operations Support Squadron aircrew flight equipment specialist, attached a digital eyepiece add-on to a helmet at March Air Reserve Base, CA, Jan. 17. This upgrade highlights the Air Guard's push toward full spectrum readiness by improving current war fighting equipment. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Luke Olson)

March ARB, CA --

Pilots with the 114th Fighter Wing tested out a new digital eyepiece (DEP) add-on system during a recent deployment Jan. 4-19. The device transforms their existing helmet-mounted displays (HMD) and night-vision goggles (NVG) into “smart helmets”, effective in night flying. 

“With the U.S. being smart with their military tactics they look for opportunities where we can gain an advantage and a lot of times that’s at night,” said Maj. Jeremy Doohen, 114th Operations Group pilot. “With this new system it allows our targeting cueing capabilities to be overlaid into our night vision goggles, before this, there were just night vision goggles.”

This upgrade highlights the Guard forces push toward full spectrum readiness by improving current war fighting equipment.

“It doesn’t just turn night into day, it makes it a lot easier for you to pick out definition in the landscape and you can see a mountain,” said Doohen. “It gives us the ability to put our radar onto an aircraft or a target and have that overlay within our night vision goggles.”

As a clip-on device, the DEP enables the pilots to transition from day to night configuration, improves situational awareness, provides daytime cueing, and displays capabilities during night operations. 

“The technology is moving in the right direction so now we can say, ‘we can try that at night’ because now we have better capabilities at night.”’ said Doohen. “It’s exciting. It makes it that much easier for the pilot to accomplish the mission.”

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