"The look of death" is how I would have described the gaze you get if you're silly enough to step on the Defense Tech girlfriend's modular, ultra-chic, asymmetric couch. No longer. Not since I heard about the Air Force's latest gagdet: a helmet that lets a pilot lock on foes -- just by staring at them. Now that, my friends, is a look of death.The Pentagon handed out a $86 million contract on Friday to Boeing, to build 2,000 of these Joint Helmet-Mounted Cueing Systems (JHMCS). The first 250 units will be ready by next March, the company says. Eventually, pilots of Air Force and Air National Guard F-15 Eagles, USAF F-16 Fighting Falcons, U.S. Navy F/A-18E/F Super Hornets will all get the targeting systems."First used in Operation Iraqi Freedom, JHMCS gives pilots the ability to rapidly acquire and designate a target simply by looking at it," according to a Boeing statement. "By putting an aiming cross, which is projected on the helmet visor, over the desired target and pressing a button, the pilot can quickly and easily aim the weapons and sensors to designate and attack airborne or ground targets."
This not only makes the pilot and aircraft more lethal, but it also makes them more survivable because it reduces the time the pilot and aircraft are exposed to potential enemy fire. JHMCS also displays aircraft altitude, airspeed, g's and angle of attack on the visor, as well as tactical information, to increase the pilot's awareness of the state of his aircraft and the combat situation.That's all nice. But what happens if a pilot happens to wink in the wrong direction? Or if someone steps on her chi-chi new couch?