by Allan Ng
Canadian Defence Procurement – December 2003
The CF18 Incremental Modernization Program – In Detail
Follow-Ons to the ECP 583 – Joint Helmet-Mounted Cuing System (JHMCS)
Allan Ng reviews DND's CF18 fighter aircraft
modernization plan (Part 7)
If Looks Could Kill – a New JHMCS Helmet for the CF?
The Joint Helmet Mounted Cuing System – JHMCS – is a joint venture between Rockwell Collins and
Israel's Elbit Systems. This JHMCS is intended for close-range air- to-air combat and is designed
to take full advantage of the new, highly-manoeuverable, short range
air-to-air missiles (AAM) now entering service with western air forces. The current CF short-range
AAM (the infrared-guided AIM-9 Sidewinder) relies upon
gaining an infrared 'lock' (albeit, with a back-up optical target detector) on an opponent. A
tactical disadvantage of the close-range Sidewinders is the limited (30°) field-of- view of
their infrared seeker-heads. JHMCS is meant to address this limitation.
The next-generation short-range AAMs have much wider fields-of-view but this new type of missile can also be
'slaved' to a helmet-mounted sighting system like
JHMCS. Instead of a Sidewinder's 30° cone fanning out from the missile's nose for
'lock- on', the next-generation of AAM's fields-of- view will be at least 90°s. By
simply looking at a target, a pilot wearing the JHMCS will be able to direct these new short-range AAMs.
JHMCS is designed for 24 hour operation. A daylight visor (essentially a helmet-mounted heads-up display –
top) is standard but, for nocturnal operations, an adaptor allows NVG (night-vision goggles – above,
left) to be worn instead. Initial operational use of this system by the US is imminent. If CF Air Command
acquires the JHMCS and a new short range AAM (as DND has planned) the upgraded CF18 will be well able to deal
with more modern opponents in close air-to-air combat for years to come.
 Israel was early into the field of helmet-sight slaved missiles with the Python. The first AAM
to use helmet sighting was the 1975 V3 Kukri from South Africa.