F-35 pilot helmets to be made by Israeli company
The pilot helmets for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter would be exclusively manufactured by Israel-based firm Elbit Systems and its US partner, Rockwell Collins. Lockheed Martin and the Pentagon's Joint Strike Fighter Program Office chose the Israeli firm to make the hi-tech helmets over BAE Systems.
The Associated Press reported that Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon announced the news on Sunday. Ya'alon said, "The choice of Elbit Systems to produce the pilots' helmets is a vote of confidence in Israel's defense industries and their people."
According to news outlet New Hampshire Union Leader, London-based BAE Systems was hired by Lockheed and the Pentago to develop the helmet two years ago. This was after problems were seen on the Rockwell-Elbit helmet used for its pilot testing and training. However, Lockheed Spokeswoman Laura Siebert told Reuters that discontinuing BAE's work on the headpiece would allow the company to save USD 47 million. So far, Lockheed has already spent USD 57 million on the second helmet.