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LANTIRN HUD Diffractive Combiner Demonstrator

Technical Information

Catalogue No: C0042
Category: Head-Up Display [HUD]
Object Type: Module/Sub-Assembly/Component
Object Name: LANTIRN HUD Diffractive Combiner Demonstrator
Part No: 229 E 6848
Serial No: 001
Manufacturer: Marconi Avionics
Division: Airborne Display [ADD]
Platform(s): F-16C/D Fighting Falcon 
Year of Manufacture: 1978
Width (mm):
Height (mm):
Depth (mm):
Weight (g):
Location: Main Object Store

Part No. 229.E.6848
Ser. No. 001


This "Lensless HUD" an early demonstrator from 1978. It uses a 175mm (7") diagonal TV Monitor CRT projecting into a three element Combiner which carries out collimation with no further lens groups.

This is Serial No.001 although it is the only one of this type made. A slightly earlier version used a HUD Cathode Ray Tube in place of the TV Monitor. With the eventual addition of a relay lens this design was to be developed into the DHUD or LANTIRN HUD.

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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