HENSOLDT supports BAE Systems to develop Striker® II fighter-pilot helmet for the UK Royal Air Force

© BAE Systems

Irene, South Africa, 28 November 2023 – In a strategic collaboration, HENSOLDT will work with BAE Systems in a contract awarded by the UK Ministry of Defence. This contract centres on the development of the Striker ® II helmet-mounted display for the Royal Air Force’s Typhoon fleet. Building upon a history of successful collaboration and the development of Striker I, HENSOLDT South Africa will supply the advanced optic sensors for the helmet and will be responsible for the development of its intelligent tracking system.

Developed at BAE Systems in Rochester, UK, the Striker II is one of the world’s most advanced fighter pilot helmets, which uses the latest technologies to integrate its all-digital night vision system and daylight-readable colour display. At its core lies the optical helmet tracking system developed by HENSOLDT’s Optronics business in South Africa.

While HENSOLDT’s advanced optic sensors will be used in the helmet, HENSOLDT will also be developing the system’s inertial storage driver unit (ISDU), the electronic component that provides the helmet’s ‘intelligence’. This integral component employs sophisticated algorithms to convert data gathered from the helmet's sensors, the aircraft, navigational data and information about the aircraft’s surroundings into intelligible symbology that is displayed on the pilot’s visor. This real-time situational awareness empowers pilots to make swift, informed decisions, elevating their tactical advantage.

This contract heralds the evolution of Striker II from its predecessor, Striker I, developed by BAE Systems, and supported by HENSOLDT in a collaboration spanning over twenty years. “HENSOLDT is proud to bolster BAE Systems’ efforts to ensure that the Striker's capabilities remain at the forefront of innovation,” says Deon Olivier, Chief Executive of HENSOLDT’s Optronics’ business in South Africa.

Striker II represents a paradigm shift as a fully digital solution, offering today's combat pilots unparalleled night vision and target tracking capabilities within a seamlessly integrated visor-projected helmet system. Striker II transforms the pilot's helmet visor into an augmented reality interface, overlaying mission-critical data onto the real-world environment. HENSOLDT's advanced helmet tracking technology precisely identifies the pilot's focal point, facilitating tasks like real-time data display on the helmet visor. This not only enhances situational awareness in the cockpit, but also addresses the critical need to mitigate sensory overload in the high-tech, fast-paced environment of modern aerial combat. The Striker II is poised to revolutionise situational awareness for Royal Air Force Typhoon pilots, ensuring their safety in the ever-evolving and contested airspace.

With BAE Systems’ contract from the UK Ministry of Defence valued at £40 million, HENSOLDT’s involvement in the project is set to generate substantial foreign direct investment for South Africa, while simultaneously supporting a significant number of highly skilled jobs at HENSOLDT's Irene site in South Africa, where 400 employees are employed. Operations at this site focus on the design, development, and manufacturing of optical, optronic, and precision-engineered products tailored for monitoring, identification, classification and targeting purposes.


About HENSOLDT South Africa

HENSOLDT South Africa is a pioneer of technology and innovation in defence and security electronics. The company offers a comprehensive range of products, systems and services across defence and civil markets, from electronic warfare and optronics, spectrum monitoring and security solutions, to radar, IFF and datalinks. With more than 700 South African employees across five sites in South Africa, it is the HENSOLDT Group’s largest industrial base outside of Europe and one of the largest defence and security electronics companies in South Africa.


About BAE systems

BAE Systems provide some of the world's most advanced, technology-led defence, aerospace and security solutions. They employ a skilled workforce of more than 93,000 people in around 40 countries. Working with customers and local partners, they develop, engineer, manufacture, and support products and systems to deliver military capability, protect national security and people, and keep critical information and infrastructure secure.


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