|Category:||Head-Up Display [HUD]|
|Object Type:||Display Unit|
|Object Name:||YF-16 HUD Pilot's Display Unit|
|Year of Manufacture:||circa 1970|
|Location:||Archive Object Store|
Pt No. 229-000245-01
In January 1972 the Lightweight Fighter Programme asked for designs from several American manufacturers. They were told to tailor their specifications toward developing a lightweight superiority fighter. General Dynamics and Northrop were asked to build prototypes. These were to be strictly technology demonstrators. Northrop produced the twin-engine YF-17 and General Dynamics came up with the compact YF-16 with one engine.
The Lightweight Fighter competition was completed in 1975. On 13th January 1975 the USAF announced that the YF-16's performance had made it the winner of its Air Combat Fighter (ACF) competition. General Dynamics YF-16 demonstrated superior dogfighting capabilities in a lightweight, low cost fighter prototype. This eventually led to production of the F-16A/B.
The first official flight of the YF-16 took place on the 2nd February 1974. A simple HUD was fitted which was weighted to be representative but was non-functional. The HUD used a 664 Optical Module and the Up Front Control Panel housed switches for the Spin Chute deployment and emergency jettison. The next version of the HUD again used the same 664 optics but was a functional unit.
The fire control system of the YF-16 proved particularly effective in the fly-off of the two contenders. In addition to successfully demonstrating ability to make the computations necessary for air-to-air and air-to-ground missions in the same computer, a new energy management display was developed during flight test which gained acceptance by both GD and USAF pilots.
However the design was based on the processor of the A-7D/E HUD which was itself derived from the earlier ILAAS concept. By now there had been considerable advances in computer technology with medium and large scale integrated circuit devices and RAM and ROM. There was the potential to make a processor both smaller and lighter without any increase in cost. The new system was called the Head Up Display Weapon Aiming System or HUD-WAS Type 664 and this was the basis of the production F-16 design.
In May 1975 Marconi-Elliott Avionic Systems was awarded the pre-production contract for the F-16A/B HUD. The system was fitted to the 12 development F-l6s planned by the USAF as forerunners of over 4000 eventually ordered.