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When Looks Can Kill

michael posted more than 12 years ago | from the smoldering-glance dept.

Technology 314

Ben Sullivan writes "From the Los Angeles Times: "Test pilots here are flying with sophisticated helmets, resembling a bug's eye, that allow them to aim their weapons and sensors simply by looking at potential targets on the ground or in the air. The helmets, when coupled with a highly maneuverable new missile that is close to deployment, would enable fighter pilots to look over their shoulders and fire instantly at targets, a feat that until now has been matched only in science fiction movies." Development was done by San Jose-based Vision Systems International, a joint venture of defense electronics maker Rockwell Collins Inc. and Israeli's Elbit. Raytheon makes the sharp-turning AIM-9X missile."

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Whoa! (-1)

asbestos_diaper (456125) | more than 12 years ago | (#3296642)

When I saw the title, I thought this was another article about GNOME!

Indeed (-1, Offtopic)

Sweet Buttery Anus (544482) | more than 12 years ago | (#3296734)

methinks I'll pick up some Jger, a couple hamburgers and the latest Playgirl and play 'ESR' all night.

Car (3, Funny)

0xB (568582) | more than 12 years ago | (#3296645)

I'm half-way through putting one of these in my car - leaves my hands free to drink coffee, tune the radio etc.
Come Monday morning, if you're driving in Portland, OR, you might want to take extra care at junctions until I've got the bugs ironed out.

Re:Car (3)

digitalunity (19107) | more than 12 years ago | (#3296715)

Just make sure your you're looking straight ahead when crossing that Fremont bridge, it's a bitch!

Now, if I could cross the I-5 bridge heading south hands-free, I'd pay some serious dollars.

Re:Car (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3296738)

Think of all the accidents that will happen when a hot babe bends offer to tie her shoe near a cross walk.

About time! (2, Informative)

vjlen (187941) | more than 12 years ago | (#3296655)

The Russians have had helmet mounted sights and versions of the Archer AAM that can come off the launch rail at absurd angles for versions of the Mig-29 and Su-27 for some time now. Coupled with an infrared search and track sensor, they can mount a passive attack, no radar warning at all.

Re:About time! (2, Insightful)

Rice-Pudding (167484) | more than 12 years ago | (#3296770)

Last year the Pentagon awarded Raytheon an 18-year contract valued at $3 billion to produce more than 10,000 missiles for both the Navy and the Air Force.

This sounds sort of like the tale of NASA spending millions to develop a pen that works in zero-G environments. The Russian's, when confronted with the same problem, used a pencil.

It sounds strange to rely on a missile that has a tight turning radius when all you have to do is swivel the launch rails. Surely the problem of how to swivel the launch rails is easier to solve than how to make a missile turn better.

That being said, there are many other benefits to a tight-turn-radius missile.

Re:About time! (1)

cheese_wallet (88279) | more than 12 years ago | (#3296797)

I imagine that aerodynamics play a pretty big role in how missiles are attached to a craft--assuming it is an external attachment.

If a jet is blasting through the air at 700 miles per hour, I suspect that even if it didn't affect the maneuverability of the jet, the missile would probably be torn off.

Re:About time! (1)

cheese_wallet (88279) | more than 12 years ago | (#3296804)

I hit submit too soon. that last paragraph was assuming that the missile was being turned to point at a target.

South Africans too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3296771)

about 20 - 30 years ago. Probably developed with the help of Israel. Our armed forces follow the old British Navy model - - - you know, the one where they had scurvy for 200 years AFTER they knew what caused it before they did anything about it.

Re:About time! (4, Informative)

singularity (2031) | more than 12 years ago | (#3296792)

I am not one to complain about people not reading the article, but this seems like a clear case of it. Almost all posts on this story so far have been about how the Soviets and the Apache helicoptor have had systems similar to this before.

The article mentions the fact that the Soviets designed such a system years ago.

The Apache system also only used a machine gun.

This seems to be much more advanced however.The article mentions the ability to target ground targets for sateelite targetted missles. In addition, this system coupled with AA missles able to make very tight turns means that the pilot does not have to be behind the other plane in order to take down the target.

As the Slashdot story says, the pilot would have the ability to *look over his shoulder* and still target and take out another plane. This would require an AA missle capable of making a reletively tight 180 degree turn and still be able to hit its target.

Re:About time! (2, Informative)

T-Punkt (90023) | more than 12 years ago | (#3296829)

And somewhat related:
With the unification of Germany the Luftwaffe got some Fulcrums with AA-11 Archer missiles and noticed that it was superior to the current version of sidewinder missile they had (AIM-9L) in all ways (homing, maneuverability) and started with some other nations (Canada, Norway, Seden, Italy, Greece) devoloping a new missile called IRIS-T (AIM-120) which will work with a helmet sight like the AA-11 as well.

Seems like the US of A is a little late here...

alredy been done... (1, Informative)

sonicstorm (538673) | more than 12 years ago | (#3296656)

This isn't anything too ground-breaking, the Russian MiG-29 has had a similar system in operation for years now.

Re:alredy been done... (2, Informative)

JAZ (13084) | more than 12 years ago | (#3296658)

And the apache helicopter, been doing it for more than 10 years.

Re:alredy been done... (1)

lowtekneq (469145) | more than 12 years ago | (#3296759)

heh, that quote was on last night's ep.. odd

Re:alredy been done... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3296725)

Not to mention the Grumman F-14 Tomcat. Originally it didn't, but something similar to this system was added after either its first or second major upgrade.

oh no! (1)

Nathan Brazil (13299) | more than 12 years ago | (#3296659)

The future, as predicted by the visionary movie Firefox is coming true! Next thing you know we'll have to think at our computers in Russian...

something to consider? (1)

foonf (447461) | more than 12 years ago | (#3296660)

How will the (no doubt) massive investment of government money involved in developing instruments of war like this improve human society? Even if you believe that wars and military power can improve the world, you must concede that the United States already has by far the most technologically advanced military in the world, and even without devices like this no other country can seriously challenge the United States in a conventional war (and no amount of technological superiority can ultimately stop fanatics armed with box cutters). And every cent that funds new high-tech killing instruments is one cent that doesn't go to fight very serious problems of disease, starvation, and poverty.

Re:something to consider? (1)

Fixer (35500) | more than 12 years ago | (#3296671)

You want to know when "enough is enough"? When the rest of the world's military powers appear to be using muskets as compared to our gear of that future day. Our goal is now to be so far advanced of any other country that it would be sheer fantasy to even entertain the notion of conflict.

Re:something to consider? (2)

mgv (198488) | more than 12 years ago | (#3296740)

You want to know when "enough is enough"? When the rest of the world's military powers appear to be using muskets as compared to our gear of that future day.

Yeah, right. If you take the entire axis of evil, and throw in a few other countries around the region, its outpowered by the US about 3 to 1.

The only way you can meet anyone in the air with weapons even vaguely threatening to the US is if the US sells them to that person in the first place. Please bear in mind that this is just how most of these places got their weapons in the first place. Iran, Iraq and Afganistan have had, over the last 15 years a great deal of military support from the US.

The point is, the US doesn't really need better weapons, and certainly not on the scale it produces them. It does need to stop giving them away and selling them to governments and rebel groups in third world countries because of a (usually very short term) intervention.

Think it through - since the fall of the soviet union the supply of military equipment to the third world has come predominantly from the US. (Who else do you think has the technology to make it)?

Ok, enough preaching - my take home message: If you want the US to have overwhelming military strength, thats easy - stop selling and giving your weapons away.

My 2c worth. (There goes my karma!)


Re:something to consider? (1)

yintercept (517362) | more than 12 years ago | (#3296830)

If they kill us three times over...Why, we will just kill them forty times over. That will show 'em.

protophoto []

Re:something to consider? (1)

Arbin (570266) | more than 12 years ago | (#3296676)

There is a reason we are so far advanced than everyone. It's simple, constant R&D to always, "one up" everyone else.

Re:something to consider? (1, Offtopic)

digitalunity (19107) | more than 12 years ago | (#3296728)

You know, in the medical field, I believe this is called an obsessive superiority complex, right?

Re:something to consider? (4, Insightful)

flacco (324089) | more than 12 years ago | (#3296679)

Even if you believe that wars and military power can improve the world, you must concede that the United States already has by far the most technologically advanced military in the world

Heeeeeeeeere's - CHINA!

Military capability is not static. Think 20-30 years from now.

Re:something to consider? (2)

sam_handelman (519767) | more than 12 years ago | (#3296708)

I'll play devil's advocate.

Firstly, military technology has had many beneficial spinoffs - such as the Internet. It can be argued that other publically funded research is a better investment of our dollars, and produces more beneficial spinoffs per dollar spent. However, the spinoffs of military technology definitely improve human society.

Secondly, it is not true that we will remain militarily invincible forever. It would be *more* true if we stopped exporting our best, or next-to best, military technology to whichever fascist regime we wanted to prop up today, but nonetheless, if we stopped improving our military the rest of the world would eventually catch up. Bribing our defense sector with huge amounts of cash money helps to prevent our existing defense technology from percolating into the rest of the world - espionage against US defense contractors would be hugely easier if they were not flush with cash. Obviously, this doesn't prevent all bribery of the defense industry (the two things that human beings possess in potentially infinite amounts being greed and stupidity) but it helps.

Thirdly, R&D, while more expensive for the military than for any other

oops, hit post (1)

sam_handelman (519767) | more than 12 years ago | (#3296724)

Thirdly, R&D, while more expensive for the military than for any other enterprise, is still a better deal than buying enough old-tech hardware and manpower to do what we expect out military to do: win quickly (preferably within weeks) and suffer no losses.

Re:something to consider? (2, Insightful)

pseudofrog (570061) | more than 12 years ago | (#3296741)

you must concede that the United States already has by far the most technologically advanced military in the world, and even without devices like this no other country can seriously challenge the United States in a conventional war


Superior technology != victory in war.

Someone may have already mentioned China. The US has ~220 million citizens last I heard. China has billions. Granted, transporting anyone over would be tough, but China could obliterate Asia and Europe in a few decades pretty easily if it had the desire.

And how about this technology for defense? Technology needs to continue to progress for one to compete in ANY it business or in military. We could back from finding new technology in the military, but surely nobody else would. Complacency has been the end of many civilizations.

Now for the economic advantage...the government is spending money on a PRODUCT. This money goes into employees hands and they spend it. Then those who they paid for product/service spend it again. This is the beauty of economics. Government spending is GOOD for the economy, regardless of what political alignment you are. This money could be spent on saving trees or welfare...but our the economic benefits are nil.



Re:something to consider? (2)

crumbz (41803) | more than 12 years ago | (#3296767)


U.S. ~270 million
China ~1.13 billion

How could China obliterate Asia and Europe?

Europe (excl. Russia) ~380 million
Rest of Asia ~1.73 billion

What does population have to do with it?

What is your last point???

Re:something to consider? (1)

pseudofrog (570061) | more than 12 years ago | (#3296823)

I stand (or sit) corrected on the population issue. But China could still make a hell of a mess over in Europe/Asia and do quite a bit with a few alliances. You are correct that population doesn't decide everything in war, but it is an important factor to consider.

The 4th point clarification: The original message stated that the money could better be spent on solving poverty or other issues. Government spending is a great way to help solve this. Putting money in the hands of people (by paying them for products, in this case of military nature) and people with money in there hands spend it. Those who get money buy selling them goods or services will spend it...and the cycle continues. This would reduce poverty.

Thanks for setting me strait about those first few points though...I feel a bit relieved :).


Best propaganda poster (-1)

ArchieBunker (132337) | more than 12 years ago | (#3296753)

This poster says it all: an da/ropekid-liberals.jpg

Re:something to consider? (4, Insightful)

clark625 (308380) | more than 12 years ago | (#3296754)

you must concede that the United States already has by far the most technologically advanced military in the world, and even without devices like this no other country can seriously challenge the United States in a conventional war

Maybe no other country can challenge the US. At least, not right now. China, for example, has the goal of improving their tech enough that they may become a more equal competitor. And many other nations have interests in targetting the US for any type of war (conventional or otherwise).

Why is it that people say "hey--we've got the best in the business (in this case the business of war). Why should we keep developing?" It's like people really, truely believe that we don't have any competition (or people who want to be competitors). Microsoft hasn't given us much in way of innovation since Win95. And some would say that they are the "best in the business" for desktop OS's. But that's no excuse for them to be sitting around waiting for others to finally catch up. Instead, they should be trying to improve even more. That would only give them a larger lead.

It is a poor rationalization in my opinion to say that we should ever pretend that some amount of military tech is "good enough". There will always be advances. The country who can aquire and use these advances first has an enormous advantage. The US doesn't merely want to have the most powerful military in the world--the intent is to have a military always so advanced and powerful that no other nation would ever question a war. Simply having the technology can prevent war altogether and save many lives.

In my opinion, I would much rather fund military research than many other projects. People like to say that disease, world hunger, and other interests should come first. My only response is: What would it matter if I had cancer if I am dodging bullets? What good does sending food to poor countries do when the food never reaches those people in need do to gangs?

I think people misunderstand the role of the military and its necessity for the US. This world isn't a fairy-tale place. Bad people exist, and they intend to hurt us. It is only by military power that this world is as safe as it is now. Simply look to WWII for inspiration--as well as the Cold War and how two superpowers used their militaries to ensure (mostly) peace stayed in place to prevent WWIII. I don't see any problems with sending my tax dollars in for military research. I'm also quite happy to feed starving kids in Afganistan, too. And education. And... etc.

Something else to consider. (2, Interesting)

NFW (560362) | more than 12 years ago | (#3296755)

If the US doesn't build it, someone else will, and that will cost us. If you don't like the way the US goes about fighting disease, [] starvation, [] and poverty, [] look at the way Iraq does it. Or North Korea. Or China.

Could the US do more? Sure. If someone defeats the US with superior firepower, will they do better? Not a chance. Power acquired though violent means is rarely employed for the good of the majority.

I would prefer to see the US retain its abililty to defend itself against aggressors. If the US is defeated in war, the victor is not likely to be someone who does a better job fighting the "very serious problems of disease, starvation, and poverty." If that matters to you, you should be glad for the United States' military superiority.

We have superiority today, but if we stop developing bigger, better, badder weapons, that will change. Superiority is a process, not a result.

Re:something to consider? (2)

Scratch-O-Matic (245992) | more than 12 years ago | (#3296810)

you must concede that the United States already has by far the most technologically advanced military in the world

You seem to forget that this technology will be used primarily in situations where one man is trying to kill one other man. The one who loses dies. You apparently expect American pilots to make do with "good enough" since we're already the best. Being from the most technologically advanced military does you no good when an enemy pilot has managed to get behind you.

Wow (2, Funny)

jidar (83795) | more than 12 years ago | (#3296661)

This time lets not sell the tech to the Israelis so they stop kicking our pilots asses so bad in mock dogfights. This could be like their handicap.

Re:Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3296685)

Errr.. except the article states than there's an Israeli company in on the technology development. Too late.

Re:Wow (1)

typedef (139123) | more than 12 years ago | (#3296700)

The Isralis keep kicking our asses so bad in mock dogfights because they have some of the best trained pilots in the world. Being involved in a nearly perpetual state of warfare for the past 20 years has kind of given them an edge on the training and experience side of things. Its kind of a non-issue anyway, because 99.9% of air engagements are beyond visual range anyway.

lookin' at the world... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3296662)

Through Fly's Eyes.....

Seriously... how the heck do you deal with the human inability to process looking at more than one direction at once? when looking in one direction with one eye and another with the other you brain get's confused and either muddles the image or just chooses to display the dominant eye's image.

and I am sure that pilots need their depth perception.

Old Technology... (2)

JoeLinux (20366) | more than 12 years ago | (#3296663)

This has been on the Apache for some time now.

Joe Carnes

Re:Old Technology... (1)

vjlen (187941) | more than 12 years ago | (#3296686)

Have you seen the Apache version? I wouldn't want to be flying at Mach 1 with one of those strapped to my head when pulling 6 Gs, banging around.

Yeah, the Apache has had it for years. But consider it's used to track slow moving AFVs and other ground targets.

Groaner... (3, Funny)

Cheshire Cat (105171) | more than 12 years ago | (#3296752)

This has been on the Apache for some time now.

I'm afraid its not on my version of Apache, but I believe the new 2.0 version of Apache may have it. :)

Little too easy? (2, Interesting)

AndyChrist (161262) | more than 12 years ago | (#3296665)

While this would definitely be faster, maybe more accurate...if all you have to do is LOOK at something to blow it up, might not the chances for friendly fire or other accidents be increased? What else does a pilot have to do to mark and/or fire at their target?

Re:Little too easy? (2, Informative)

jpmkm (160526) | more than 12 years ago | (#3296680)

Read the article -
"When a target is in the display's bull's-eye, the pilot pushes a button to launch the missile."
The helmet is just for aiming. You still push a button to launch.

gcc 3.0 is retarded (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3296666)

So I'm trying to install gcc 3.0 and the documentation is telling me:

"You must have gcc 3.0 installed to compile gcc 3.0 correctly"

How'm i supposed to compile the binary if I need the same fscking binary to compile it?! GNU is the stupidest OS in the world. Maaan, fuck linux.

hot women (0, Redundant)

CmdrTaco (editor) (564483) | more than 12 years ago | (#3296667)

I wonder what would happen when one of these jets flies over a southern California beach? I'd certainly hate to be an attractive woman in a bikini attracting the leering eyes of the pilots...

Re:hot women (1)

Daniel Wood (531906) | more than 12 years ago | (#3296701)

Seeing as 'jets' cruise at 400+ MPH, I doubt they'll see anything. Besides, they wouldn't fly that low in the first place.

AIM-9X Missle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3296668)

"Raytheon makes the sharp-turning AIM-9X missile."

It had become to difficult to train the newbie soldiers to fire missles the conventional way -- AOL Time Warner was called in to port their popular Instant Messenger to the projectile platform.

Prior Art Exists.... (1)

empesey (207806) | more than 12 years ago | (#3296670)

Didn't Discovery Channel do a documentary on wives who reduced their husbands to cinders merely by giving them the evil eye?

Re:Prior Art Exists.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3296824)

Wow! I would mod you up +1 Funny, but I don't have any moderator points. Plus, you're not funny.

sounds dangerous... (2)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 12 years ago | (#3296674)

you take a quick look at your wingman and utter the words "shoot, he's too far away" then you hear... "target locked...firing..."

technology is beginning to get big enough to cause som really big mishaps...

Re:sounds dangerous... (2)

Fat Casper (260409) | more than 12 years ago | (#3296768)

"shoot, he's too far away"

It would sound dangerous, except "shoot" isn't what these folks say when they're upset. And no military guy would say "shoot" when he means "fire."

Now if his wingman's plane is damaged and he looks over and says "your engine is on fire," then there could be a problem.

it isn't (1)

NFW (560362) | more than 12 years ago | (#3296796)

Read the article, people. This is about aiming missiles, not firing them. No speech recognition involved.

Aim, fire (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3296678)

I'm still waiting for an input device using this technology to replace the mouse. Doesn't Stephen Hawking use something similar to this to type and such?

FIRST POST!!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3296691)


Re:FIRST POST!!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3296699)

NO thread crapping, MORON!!!

US bullshit (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3296681)

This is typical US bullshit propaganda. I thought the cold war was over.

Re:US bullshit (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3296760)


Suck it, third world biatches!

Re:US bullshit (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3296787)

He's probably a socialist, eurotrash, piece of shit. I fucking hate the Europeans. They are such weak bitches!

Re:US bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3296777)

Think again, comrade.

Port required (2, Funny)

rant-mode-on (512772) | more than 12 years ago | (#3296692)

Any news on when is the port to Quake going to be finished?

Why bother? (2)

Colin Winters (24529) | more than 12 years ago | (#3296694)

Why is the military wasting money on this? In a short time, probably by next fall, the UCAV (unmanned combat air vehicle) program will be completed. While that's only for doing bombing runs right now, it's end goal is to be adapted for fighters as well. By taking the pilot out of the plane, you can pull insane G-forces without worrying about pilots blacking out, leading to much more manueverable airplanes. With pilots on the way out, it doesn't make much sense to build this kind of system.

Colin Winters

Re:Why bother? (1)

Chayce (199487) | more than 12 years ago | (#3296731)

I believe that we will always have piloted fighter aircraft for the simple reason that things dont go right in war, they go wrong. So if we only had pilotless drones that would be great on a day where there is little atmospheric interference, all the hardware and software work perfectly and none of the planes hardware breaks. I myself have done some flying, ultralights mostly, and I believe a computer could land the plane better than me, take off better than me, and fly point to point better than me, but when the engine suddenly looses power, weather turns rough and you get a down draft or an updraft that nearly sends you tumbling, or your on final aproach and your alerons start acting funny I dont think a computer could have done the job well at all, in fact I can bet I would have been dead. So before you begin writing off the pilot as obsolite technology, think about just how many reasons we still have pilots.

Re:Why bother? (2)

Fat Casper (260409) | more than 12 years ago | (#3296802)

Except that no unmanned anything can have enough good camera angles for the operator to have the kind of SA that you need in life. Don't even think that AI can come close to filling that need. Computers help- they're essential, but the most powerful computer is still going to be the human brain.

The military wastes money on $700 toilet seats, yes. None of the money spent on research or upgrading weapons systems can be called wasted, though.

American phuckers have killed enuff ppl (0)

k2x (538620) | more than 12 years ago | (#3296818) the name of "liberty" & "freedom". And now UCAVs...less moral problems to deal with and more bombing effectiveness.

What you can't get rid of aghanistan with all those bombs? Has their AA weapons knocked ur airfleet causing "technical glitches" 7 times in a row?

Sell it to Isreal, so that they can bomb the hell out of Palestine, right?

When the phuck will ppl really begin to understand US "double" government structure, and all those insane bomb and tech aren't really for "national defense" or "protecting freedom".

Assholes. Get a clue.

Not New (1)

Chayce (199487) | more than 12 years ago | (#3296696)

This technology has been around for the Apache (Helicopter you putz) for many years, and was originaly started by the russians on their Mig-29s in the late 80s with a relatively large ammount of success. The original models allowed the firing of heat seaking missiles up to 90 degrees off gunsight, to hear that they are all the way to 180 degrees doesnt shock me, but that really isnt news. Anyway, thats my 2c.

Hidden Dangers (1)

wildsurf (535389) | more than 12 years ago | (#3296705)

Copilot: "Hey, your shoelace is untied!!"

Pilot: "huh?" (looks at shoes)


Re:Hidden Dangers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3296835)

Yeah, that's probably how the system works - it probably shoots at everything you look at, even inside your cockpit. And there's probably now way to turn it off, and unlimiited number of missiles, too. At least, that's how I would design it.

Sweet!! (2)

quantaman (517394) | more than 12 years ago | (#3296706)

Could this not be the ULTIMATE mouse. Think about it! Just put a couple extra button on the keyboard and when you want to click on something just look and press a key! Sure the headgear might be a little bulky right now but I'm sure that could be easily fixed. No more lifting your hands from the keyboard to click something and when gaming if you can see it you can click it! A whole new strain of optical mice!

Re:Sweet!! (3, Interesting)

Xerithane (13482) | more than 12 years ago | (#3296730)

Been done. []

Even though the website is quite scarce, this is not vapor. I have actually had one of these things strapped to my head and used it to track a mouse cursor. Very cool tech and very light weight.

Re:Sweet!! (2)

jonnythan (79727) | more than 12 years ago | (#3296778)

I want one that tracks my *eye* movements, not my head movements. I don't want to point my face at a button, i want to LOOK at a button. But cool anyway ;)

It's All Been Done (3, Insightful)

Phanatic1a (413374) | more than 12 years ago | (#3296709)

The AH-64 Apache [] entered service way the hell back in 1984, and the gunner wears a helmet that, combined with an IR laser array in the cockpit, detects which way he's looking and swivels the helicopter's chin turret in the appropriate direction. So that's nothing new. What is new here is the steerable seeker on the missile, which combies with the helmet to allow off-axis engagement.

'course, that's not really new either, as the MiG-29 has similar capability.

Re:It's All Been Done (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3296780)

Is there a reason that this was moderated informative? Hell, he didn't even read the article, he just repeated what the original post said. Fucking weak.

New Tech, Old Idea (3, Informative)

alpinist (96637) | more than 12 years ago | (#3296713)

This seems very similar to the targeting in Apache helicopters, except it tracks the movement of the gunner's head not his eye. And I even think it goes back as far as the Cobra helicopter. Pupil tracking has been discussed for a long time, as well as helmets with built in displays, similar to a Head Up Display (HUD) for projecting situational information in a way humans can keep up with and understand.

As far as dog fighting goes, what about the F-22? Its systems are designed for engaging aircraft at long range, well out of sight of the pilot. That's been the direction they've been pushing aircraft, so a single pair of fighters can control a large chunk of sky, stealthy and deadly at long ranges, neutralizing enemy aircraft long before they're ever detected themselves.

Trigger happy americans (1)

ross.w (87751) | more than 12 years ago | (#3296718)

Great, one less sanity check in the loop between "Is he with us or them?" and "Kaboom!"

As if enough friendly troops aren't blown up by their american "allies" already.

Re:Trigger happy americans (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3296800)

Who gives a fuck what a socialist Australian has to say. Suck it bitch! America owns your ass!

AIM-9X (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3296719)

"Raytheon makes the sharp-turning AIM-9X missile."

Well at least it's not driven by XP.

Yikes! (2)

Emugamer (143719) | more than 12 years ago | (#3296723)

Just don't give this Tech to my wife!!! Actually I think she already has it and just manages to have a small level of self restraint.

Hey! (5, Funny)

Click 0 Nett (525613) | more than 12 years ago | (#3296726)

I can see my house from up here!

uh oh...... :)

Uh oh! (1)

towaz (445789) | more than 12 years ago | (#3296732)

With Americans track record of hitting alies by mistake, I can see this is going to cause even more.

Co pilot "Is that a uk tank?"


Pilot " U mean that burning thing on the ground?"

Why is this good? (1)

Ibjr (570729) | more than 12 years ago | (#3296742)

"The coordinates of the target are transmitted instantly to the missile, which upon launch uses its own infrared and optic sensors to make the kill." This isn't flamebait, but wouldn't this just make our pilots more accoutable for what they fire at? With the fog of war and all, this wouldn't be good...

So, uh.... (1)

InfiniteVoid (156157) | more than 12 years ago | (#3296744)

... When can I get one?

Flares, Depth-Of-Field (2)

Oink.NET (551861) | more than 12 years ago | (#3296745)

Just as flares and chaff are used to divert missiles, I'll bet new flares will be developed that make it difficult to keep focus, or temporarily blind the pilot. Who knows... maybe they can develop a laser that targets cockpits.

Another question I'd like to see answered: how accurate is human eyesight anyway? Sure, to us it seems pretty accurate, but how accurately can you pick up on the eye's positioning? What if you've got a gimp-eye that keeps straying off to the corner? What about picking up on depth-of-field? With ground targets this shouldn't be as much of a problem, but in the air, especially with an air target between you and the ground, depth-of-field becomes critical. It seems like the biggest "bugs" in this system are the foibles of the human eye.

Re:Flares, Depth-Of-Field (3, Informative)

jonnythan (79727) | more than 12 years ago | (#3296785)

I believe this is helmet tracking, not eye tracking (similar to the Apache system).

Point your head at the target, get it in the helmet visor-mounted HUD, lock, and fire.

Re:Flares, Depth-Of-Field (1)

RhettLivingston (544140) | more than 12 years ago | (#3296851)

No, this is eye tracking and its old news. Article must have come out due to it making it on to one more fighter. It doesn't have to be terribly accurate because all it is doing is getting the missile headed in the right direction. The missile will then lock on and chase the target itself. The big savings is in not having to point your plane to get lockon.

Re:Flares, Depth-Of-Field (0)

therealmoose (558253) | more than 12 years ago | (#3296803)

The air force obviously tests vision rigerously before allowing potential pilots to fly. A person with a visual handicap should NOT be flying a F-16.

No problem with this, as far... (2)

famazza (398147) | more than 12 years ago | (#3296746)

No problem with this, as far as the missile launch being done by a trigger, not by thoughts.

Imagine a stupid lietunent (just like Band of Brothers) starring at the pilot in front of a plane equiped with this device. It would be interesting to see stupid sargents being killed!

But, what can I do? What can I say? I'm not military. :o)

Re:No problem with this, as far... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3296799)

Imagine a stupid lietunent (just like Band of Brothers) starring at the pilot in front of a plane equiped with this device. It would be interesting to see stupid sargents being killed!

Imagine a stupid slashdot poster who can't spell lieutenant, staring, or sergeant. It would be interesting to see that poster being killed as well.

Wrong. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3296761)

Apache helicopters have had this technology for nigh on 11 years. What a silly story.

(The nose cannon follows the pilots helmet).

Its also been implemented in prototype F22 raptors IIRC.

HEY FAG)T Linuxs Luzers (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3296766)

Use XP! Suck it bitchias []

One step better... (2)

Scratch-O-Matic (245992) | more than 12 years ago | (#3296769)

I recall reading recently that research was being done on a helmet like this that would be combined with external sensors so the pilot could "see" things that were not visible to him in the cockpit. For instance, he could look down by his feet and see an aircraft below him. They could couple this with a quick method of changing "views," like those flight simulator games that allow you to toggle between forward/left/right/aft view, to make a formidable fighting system.

By the way, for the whiners complaining that this will facilitate blue-on-blue kills: it's just a targeting system. The pilot still has to aim and pull the trigger.

If I'm not mistaken (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3296788)

This was technology introduced by aliens a few weeks ago on "Stargate SG-1". There it used mind control but really, it's hard to tell between mind and eye control when you're watching someone use one of these things.

Who needs computerized targeting when... (1)

Psx29 (538840) | more than 12 years ago | (#3296790)

you can just use the force!

Looks That Can Kill (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3296805)

I figured there'd be ten posts with jokes saying something like, "Heck, my last 5 girlfriends have had looks that could kill when they got angry at me for leaving the toilet seat up or my underwear on the floor." I'm sooooo disappointed.

It'll Be Good, If The Pilot Can Handle It. (1)

mgrochmal (567074) | more than 12 years ago | (#3296817)

A pilot wearing the helmet can look out the side of the cockpit, spot an enemy plane and then lock the missile's guidance system on the target before launching the weapon--all within a few seconds.

Not having to aim a plane at a target can save time when engaging enemies at high-speed. However, the article didn't address just how much of the aircraft's information would be displayed in the HUD. If there is too much going on, it could cause undue distraction or confusion while the pilot coordinates the data. On the other hand, if it only puts immediately pertinent information on the display while locking onto a target, then the look-and-shoot technique may help to change how airborne combat works. I know that pilots are specially trained to fight the way they do, but I wonder how much time and money will be needed to retrain the air pilots. On top of that, just how many planes will this system installed on it? As long as some of the fundamentals remain the same, the reteaching of pilots could be streamlined significantly. Hopefully, the system will be sophisticated enough to reduce the possbility of friendly fire or miscalculated targets. If not, one bad news story about bad targeting can bring the AIM-9X project down in short order. If it works out, great.

Uh oh (0, Offtopic)

Ookoshi (571386) | more than 12 years ago | (#3296832)

Look, there's Natalie Portman with hot grits getting poured down her pants.

Boom. Oops, damn.

please think twice about stories like this. (1)

supernova87a (532540) | more than 12 years ago | (#3296838)

Look, I'm not a military pacifist, but I think there's danger in glorifying military technology and placing it here next to other stories about video games, operating systems, and cool tech stuff.

I know that most of the readers here are young, male, interested in technology and its applications. I'm one of them. But when it comes to military hardware, I think that many of us are too easily charmed into the "coolness" of the applications, the "coolness" of the implementation, and forget what military hardware is designed to do, namely to commit aggression and kill people. Maybe this is a little *too* blunt, but in the end, it does seem always to have that purpose, right?

Now you may say that it's important to have a strong defense, and I agree to some extent. But too often this is used as an incidental explanation to commit some pretty shitty stuff. Like hurting civilians who happen to be in the way of your target. Or like deceiving a population about what the military really does, or why we need to send hundreds of billions of hard-earned dollars per year, plus our sons and daughters to military purposes.

I think that it's up to all of us to question more vigorously the way we think about things like this. When you admire this technology, is it because you forget about what its real purpose is? When you work on code that guides missiles to their targets, is it because you feel proud of getting the job done right -- rather than thinking about what your code is really helping the US military (and others around the world) to do to all of us? I'm just suggesting that we be more deliberate in what we admire and place value on, and perhaps think in an ethical way about our actions.

You may call this flamebait, but I'm not someone who posts this stuff every day to champion a cause. I just saw this story, and felt strange about it. I mean, it's not like GTA3. This is real life stuff. I would be glad to know what you think.

Origins of the technology date back to 1916 (2)

Infonaut (96956) | more than 12 years ago | (#3296839)

As many others have noted, this stuff has been around for quite some time. Operationally, it was first fielded in the Cobra gunship during the 1970s.

As the US Army [] puts it:

The modern HMD is not a new concept. Its invention has been attributed to Gordon Nash, a British researcher, who explored alternative methods of providing additional information to the aviator in the 1950's (Adam, 1995). Marshall (1989) traces the concept of using the helmet as a platform for a fire control (weapon aiming) back to 1916, when Albert Bacon Pratt developed and received patents for an integrated gun helmet, perhaps the very first helmet-mounted sight (HMS). This concept was revisited in the Helmet Sight System (HSS) used in the U.S. Army's AH-1 Cobra attack helicopter in the 1970's. Task and Kocian (1995) cite the U.S. Navy's Visual Target Acquisition System (VTAS), developed in the 1960's, as the first fully operational visually coupled sighting system. [However, the system was abandoned due to lack of sufficient missile fire control technology.] For Army aviation, the AN/PVS-5 NVG was the first pilotage imagery HMD (first tested in 1973), and the IHADSS was the first integrated HMD (fielded since 1985).

Simply, an HMD projects head-directed sensor imagery and/or fire control symbology onto the eye, usually superimposed over a see-through view of the outside world.

What about this? (1)

cheezerman (316260) | more than 12 years ago | (#3296843)

So what if there is an error in the system, and you wink at a pretty girl, and blow her to smithereens? I think the rest of them would stay pretty clear of you from then on.

thats all well and good (1)

rootofevil (188401) | more than 12 years ago | (#3296848)

but when is the AIM-2k version going to come out? XP? are we expecting them to apply all the latests security patches and such?

imgaine: "target locked...firing...3y3 h4x0r3d j00...incoming missle..."

needless microsoft bash i suppose.

And rapid target identification too? (2)

vik (17857) | more than 12 years ago | (#3296852)

Two wee flies in the ointment here. First off, it is not useful to be able to target your weapons on an unidentified foe, especially if they turn out not to be foe.

Second, while all this close-range dogfight stuff is all very well, most modern AAM-type weapons are designed to be fired with a stand-off distance that renders the target virtually invisible to the naked eye. So you might have trouble aiming by looking at it.

Vik :v)

Gives a whole new meaning to.. (1)

GrBear (63712) | more than 12 years ago | (#3296854)

Gives a whole new meaning to giving someone the evil eye. :o)

that allow them to aim their weapons and sensors simply by looking at potential targets on the ground or in the air.

So this begs the question, where the hell can I get this stuff for my car? I'm sure it would help immensly for getting the attention of the idiot driver infront of me putzing along in the passing/fast lane.
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