Being a single seat fighter, a lot of attention was paid to the design of the cockpit and its systems. As part of the testing and development of these systems a number of manned studies were performed. The result of this is a highly automated cockpit giving the pilot the correct information as and when required with little external prompting. This automation is enhanced through the Attack and Identification System which combines (or fuses) all the available sensor (both on-board and off-board) data thus reducing the pilots need to cross check information. All cockpit relevant information is processed by a single Teldix GmbH designed unit, the Cockpit Information Unit, CIU. This system, based on a modular design utilising 68020 processors and 68882 co-processors is fed via the STANAG-3910 avionics and -3838 utilities databuses and is designed to cope with the large amounts of data that will flow through the unit.
In early 1999 a call went out to the various companies involved in producing various cockpit systems. This call is for urgent updates to be examined and implemented bringing systems up to a post-2000 standard. One area understood to be undergoing upgrades is the Warning Panel (WP) which may now be AMLCD/LED based for example.
The Head-Up Display (HUD) is probably the single greatest improvement in cockpit design since the first fighter was flown. Eurofighter's advanced wide-angle (35° by 25°) HUD is constructed by BAE Systems of the UK. Like all similar systems it utilises an angled semi-reflective screen directly in the pilots view through the forward canopy. The system is a development of a previous Smiths Industries/Royal Aircraft Establishment device which examined new wide angle technologies. The unit itself uses very little framing which in turn reduces problems with visibility in the frontal hemisphere.
The HUD is capable of displaying a full range of flight symbology. From basic information such as aircraft altitude, velocity, heading, weapons mode, etc. through to specific targeting and systems information. For example, the navigation subsystem (more specifically TERPROM) can be used to project terrain following cues. Similarly each weapons mode will display specific HUD output. A free-fall weapon for example would display a CCIP (Continuously Computed Impact Point) marker, an air to air missile would display a tracking diamond, etc. Additionally output from the PIRATE IR sub-system can be directly overlaid onto the HUD allowing for enhanced display in poor weather without needing to look down at any displays. Like several of Eurofighter's systems, BAE Systems are developing an almost identical HUD for America's F-22 Raptor.
Forming part of the unit is a MIDS panel mounted just below the HUD. This system features a 24 line (10 column) LED based display for output of various mission and system critical data. Positioned next to this on either side are three programmable soft touch function buttons enabling quick access to required functions. Below the MIDS unit a number of other LED based displays are present such as; selected radio channel, left and right engine fuel, etc. As well as pilot orientated functions the HUD also incorporates the cockpit audio/video recording facilities using a Teldix GmbH supplied recording unit. This data, combined with sensor ouput and information from the on-board health monitoring systems is combined and processed using the Interface Processor Unit (IPU) also built by Teldix.
Computer Symbol Generator (CSG)
All the graphical output systems, the HUD, MHDDs and HMS are driven by a single Display Processor (DP). Built by Teldix GmbH, BAE Systems, ENOSA and led by Grupo Fimemaccanico, the unit is a dual redundant lightweight system. The unit is based on two 68040 processors and a custom Teldix developed ASIC. All the symbology used is completely alterable at the operational flight program level enabling different airforces to use their own graphics.
Eurofighter's Flight Helmet (FH) is a sophisticated and highly integrated piece of equipment. It comprises the basic reinforced protective helmet shell, a Helmet Mounted Sight (HMS), Night Vision Equipment (NVG/NVE), microphone/headphones (for VTAS/system feedback) and Oxygen Mask. Overall responsibility for the helmet is down to Britain's Marconi Electronic Systems (now part of BAE Systems). The first fully flight certified model is expected to be ready for Eurofighter integration sometime in the year 2000. It is believed t