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F-16 LANTIRN HUD Illuminated Control Panel

Technical Information

Catalogue No: C1081
Category: Head-Up Display [HUD]
Object Type: Control/Data Entry
Object Name: F-16 LANTIRN HUD Illuminated Control Panel
Part No: 19565-702300-3
Serial No: 0095
Manufacturer: Symbolic Displays [SDI]
Division: Unknown
Platform(s): F-16C/D Fighting Falcon 
Year of Manufacture: 1988
Dimensions:
Width (mm):
140 
Height (mm):
100 
Depth (mm):
20 
Weight (g):
175 
Location: Main Object Store
Inscription(s):

Illuminated Control Panel
NATO-K0656-2544-00032 Rev A
19565-702300-3 Rev F
Proc Des CF-L2
NSN
-------------------------------
Lamps (21) SDI 702255
Contract No.
Ser. No. 0095
Mfg, Date Mar 1988
--------------------------------
Caution
5 Volts Max

Notes:

The Up Front Control Panel on the aft end of the F-16C/D Pilot’s Display Unit (C/D, LANTIRN and derivatives) is quite a simple unit with an integrated push button assembly. The rotary thumbwheels and the switches are part of the PDU. The panel is illuminated with 23 incandescent lamps which ran from the aircraft 5V lighting supply..The item bears the maintenance marks:
"RWK Oct 1989"
"RPR Jul 1990"
"RPR Mar 1994"

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. 

The F-16C (single seat) and F-16D (two seat) variants entered production in 1984. The first C/D version was the Block 25 with improved cockpit avionics and radar which added all-weather capability with Beyond Visual Range (BVR) AIM-7 and AIM-120 air-air missiles. Blocks 30/32, 40/42 and 50/52 were later C/D versions. The LANTIRN Diffractive optics HUD was designed for the new aircraft but development was delayed by the complexity of the manufacturing problems. As an interim the Company offered a wide angle conventional optic design.

The HUD PDU has both a raster and a cursive capability with the first application of ‘cursive-in-flyback’ in which the same amount of symbology as in the daytime high brightness mode can be drawn on the CRT using the raster's field flyback period of the Night mode. The system accuracy was enhanced by the ability to apply corrections for the windshield. The optics provides a 25° Total Field of View and a 20° by 15° Instantaneous Field of View which was the maximum that could be achieved within the limitations of the exit lens design and the large distance between the pilot and the HUD, necessitated by the reclined high ‘G’ seat.

The Processor/Symbol Generator in the HUD Electronics Unit (EU) uses the MIL-STD-1553 databus architecture, the MIL-STD-1750 processor and the MIL-STD-1589B Jovial J73 programming language. This was the first time that all three Standards had been used together. The HUD EU has comprehensive video mixing and scan conversion and self-contained weapon aiming capability.

The initial order was placed in 1984 and was valued at nearly $50 million (then about £30 million) to cover both development and production. Over 2300 HUD’s were delivered for the F-16 and the system has been the basis of equipment supplied for other programmes such as for the A-7D/K and F-5 adding another 1500 units to the family. In 1985 the F-16C/D design won the Queen’s Award for Technology Improvements to aircraft Head Up Display systems for the Company.

 

 

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