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F-16 LANTIRN HUD Diffractive Combiner Assembly

Technical Information

Catalogue No: C0309
Category: Head-Up Display [HUD]
Object Type: Module/Sub-Assembly/Component
Object Name: F-16 LANTIRN HUD Diffractive Combiner Assembly
Part No: None
Serial No: None
Manufacturer: Pilkington PE
Division: Unknown
Platform(s): F-16C/D Fighting Falcon 
Year of Manufacture: Unknown
Dimensions:
Width (mm):
250 
Height (mm):
230 
Depth (mm):
175 
Weight (g):
2,560 
Location: Archive Object Store
Inscription(s):

"Scrap. Not to be used for Prod." written on casting.
"Scrap" scratched into combiner glass.
"044568" in casting.

Notes:

This is a scrap Combiner assembly of the production design. The protrusions on the side were probably used to hold the assembly during a machining or a test process.

GEC-Marconi Avionics began development of diffractive (holographic) optical elements in the late 70’s building on the work of the Marconi Research Centre at Great Baddow under Dr Firth. A clean room was opened at Rochester in 1987 to carry out research and to manufacture holographic elements. It has an optical bench going down to bedrock to minimise the vibrations from the nearby motorway!  

The Company developed a diffractive optical system using three combiner elements which gave a large Head Motion Box. In 1980 Marconi won the contract to supply the HUD for the USAF LANTIRN programme of which 932 were manufactured for the USAF.  The LANTIRN programme links a Forward Looking Infra Red system to the HUD to present a TV picture at night of the outside world. The slight loss of transmission through the three combiner elements was not a problem in night operation although not ideal for Air-to-Air.

A raster display alone cannot give adequate symbol resolution and ensure that the symbology is always visible over the brightest shade of raster.  A technique of drawing all the symbology cursively in the field blank period of the video was developed which meant drawing nearly ten times as fast. Suddenly flying by night at low level was possible.  The HUD gives a 30 degree field of view in azimuth; essential for looking into turns and a 20 degree vertical view. The HUD was known as the DHUD for Diffractive HUD or WARHUD for Wide Angle Raster HUD. 

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