A-10C Thunderbolt II pilots of the 354th Fighter Squadron Bulldogs began flying with a new helmet mounted integrated targeting system.
The Scorpion Helmet Mounted Cueing System provides pilots with the ability to rapidly cue sensors or weapons and to designate targets with a high degree of accuracy by simply “looking at” the target or point of interest.
“It’s an accuracy enhancement system that’s worn by pilots to increase the situational awareness and weapons delivery,” said Scott Smithers, 355th Operations Support Squadron aircrew flight equipment contractor.
The HMIT generates a full-color image in the eye piece in front of the pilot’s right eye, which provides information on potential targets, while in flight.
“It gives us a monocle that we’re able to look through to rapidly engage, target and designate things that are on the ground,” said Lt. Col. Aaron Redfern, 354th FS director of operations. “It’s a great leap forward because it allows us, as close air support pilots, to keep our focus on the ground and support the people on the ground.”
The addition of Scorpion to an airplane’s weapons system reduces the time required to acquire, designate and engage targets. It also provides the ability to share real time battlefield information between aircraft and ground platforms.
“While you’re looking outside on the ground, you can see what your targeting pod is seeing at the same location,” Redfern said. “Beforehand, what we had to do was look inside the cockpit to try and interpret the scene, then look outside on the ground and then try and figure out where it was looking. Now we can look at a point on the ground, slave the targeting pod to that point.”
Smither said that this new system is a big bonus for pilots as compared to legacy systems because it allows for them to transition from day to night and maintain the same system without any changes.
Technicians from the 355th OSS AFE flight have modified and refit each pilots’ existing helmets to accommodate the new device.