How Gripen's HMC Will Give the IAF Pilot The Advantage of Time
A few extra seconds. That’s usually the difference between success and failure in a modern day battlefield. A few extra seconds allow the pilot to analyse the situation, asses the opponent, and act accordingly. Behind the Gripen pilot’s ability to be the first to see and the first to act is the fighter’s advanced Human-Machine Collaboration (HMC).
“Gripen offers the Indian Air Force (IAF) this advantage of time. Saab has years of experience in designing interfaces that reduce pilot’s workload and enable them to make swift decisions during high-tempo missions. Everything in a Gripen cockpit has been designed keeping the instincts of the pilot in mind,” says Mats Palmberg, Vice President, Industrial Partnerships, Saab, and head of Gripen India campaign.
In a recent Gripen Seminar, Daniela Ivanic, Line manager at Gripen E department of HMI, Saab talks about the evolution of human machine interface for pilots. "In the beginning (of human flight), pilots had very little information. Then, with technological growth, we got the information inflation, which was a lot of fun for the engineers, but probably a nightmare for the pilots. That's where the Human-Machine Collaboration (HMC) comes into the picture. It is the combination of Human-Machine Interface (HMI) and tactical systems that offers only the relevant information to the pilot," she says.
Gripen E/F features a fully customisable, Wide Area Display (WAD) that allows the pilot to see information in a clutter-free manner. The information is fused from various on-board and off-board sensors, and presented in a format that is easily understandable during complex missions. WAD, along with Helmet Mounted Display (HMD) and Head Up Display (HUD) gives the Gripen pilot further add to the overall situational awareness.
Daniella adds that the Gripen HMC, however, is more than relevant information on a screen. It also gives you a list of action/reaction options to the pilot. Jussi Halmetoja, Operations Adviser of Air Domain at Saab Aeronautics, and a former Gripen pilot explains - “What does this information mean to me, that’s the real question. For example, if there is a scenario of a missile engagement, Gripen's HMC will not just give me information on the current stages of my probability of intercept, but also tell me what happens next if I decide to do a certain maneuver."
“Similarly, in terms of survivability, the Gripen HMC presents information not just about the threat levels, but also on how that (threat scenario) will change if the hostile target you're looking at is performing a certain action,” Jussi adds.
The decision support by Gripen HMC gives the Gripen pilot the capability to make the right decisions - ranging from aircraft handling, to countermeasure dispensing and missile firing - in a matter of seconds, ensuring survivability.