Spain orders Scorpion helmet mounted sight and display system from Thales

Together with Typhoon aircraft, the EF-18A/B Hornet jet is currently the front-line fighter aircraft of Spain (Image: Victor M.S. Barreira).

Thales has been awarded a contract by the Spanish Ministry of Defence's procurement agency the DGAM (Dirección General de Armamento y Material) to deliver 80 Scorpion​ ​helmet mounted sight and display systems. These helmet systems will be installed in the Spanish Air Force’s Boeing EF-18A/B Hornet fighter jets throughout 2016 and 2017, once the operational qualification phase and air-to-air and air-to-ground tests have been completed.

Thales will be responsible for the viability study, testing phase, as well as the qualification phase that includes interoperability with the Diehl BGT Defence IRIS-T short-range air-to-air guided missile system.

The Scorpion system, which was developed by Thales Visionix, features colour symbology and video imaging for both day and night missions. It provides full-colour, dynamic flight and mission data, projected directly into the aircrew’s line of sight via a large field-of-view, fully transparent, rugged, optical waveguide assembly. This capability allows the aircrew to remain head-up and eyes-out of the cockpit, consequently improving situational ​​awareness. It includes hybrid-inertial motion tracking technology by Thales' operation InterSense.

When integrated into GENTEX Corporation’s HGU-55/P aircrew helmet, Scorpion ​offers a day visor, display module, fiducials, ​​hybrid ​optical-based inertial ​tracker sensor, helmet ​release ​connector, ​quick ​disconnect connector and the​ ​interface ​control ​u​nit. ​Scorpion is also compatible with​ ​​night vision goggles.

The aircraft designated as C.15 in the Spanish Air Force inventory is fielded by the Ala 12, Ala 15 and Ala 46 wings and the CLAEX (Centro Logístico de Armamento y Experimentación) Armament Logistics and Experimentation Centre. The aircraft has been fielded by Spain since July 1986.

The Scorpion system is currently fielded on many aircraft including the A-10 Thunderbolt II, F-16 Fighting Falcon and MC-130W Dragon Spear, and has been flight tested on F-22 Raptor and NH90 among other fixed-wing and rotary-wing platforms.