The Spanish Ministry of Defense will equip the EF-18 with 80 Thales Scorpion® Helmet Mounted Cueing Systems (HMCS). These HMCS will be installed in the aircraft during the course of 2016 and 2017, once the operational qualification phase and air-to-air (A2A) and air-to-ground (A2G) tests have been completed.
Scorpion® is a ‘force multiplier’ system offering full color symbology (navigation, intelligence, combat, etc.) for both nighttime and daytime missions, in addition to target cueing in potentially degraded visual environments, therefore easily allowing target designation and allocation of points of interest with the aircraft’s sensors. Scorpion® is fully interchangeable between helmets/pilots as it is installed directly over standard helmets, allowing the total amount of equipment necessary for the fleet to be reduced, thus favoring maintenance and reducing life-cycle costs.
Thales will be responsible for the viability study, testing phase, integration with test aircraft, qualification support and integration in the fleet. Thales will also be responsible for the development and production of the specific Scorpion® configuration for the Spanish EF-18 including ejection safety analysis. The qualification phase includes inter-operability with the IRIS-T missile and the daytime/ nighttime-imaging pod for cueing lightening targets.
The HMCS uses the patented and innovative HObIT (Hybrid Optical based Inertial Tracking) technology, the hybrid reference system that warrants high precision with minimum cabin intrusion. For nighttime missions, Scorpion can be operated with standard unmodified night vision goggles (NVG), therefore offering the same quality color/video imaging symbol combination. The system is already operational on multiple platforms in the United States such as the F16 Block 30/32 and the A10 ‘Thunderbolt II’ and has been flight tested on the F-22, the NH-90 and many other platforms. At present, the system is being actively evaluated by other clients globally.
“This new contract will not only strengthen the relationship with the Spanish Ministry of Defense but it will also allow the Spanish Air Force to reinforce its capacities. With Scorpion, Thales provides an innovative solution designed to simplify the mission for pilots and one that can be adapted to an extensive range of platforms,” said Gil Michielin, Thales Executive Vice-President, Avionics.
Thales is a global technology leader for the Aerospace, Transport, Defense and Security markets. With 62,000 employees in 56 countries, Thales reported sales of €14 billion in 2015. With over 22,000 engineers and researchers, Thales has a unique capability to design and deploy equipment, systems and services to meet the most complex security requirements. Its exceptional international footprint allows it to work closely with its customers all over the world.