Sunday, July 01, 2007

GUI for Jets

This is an image of the cockpit of the next-generation Russian air superiority fighter, the Sukhoi 35. (h/t Aviation Week)

Su35 cockpit

What strikes me about it is that user-interface design for combat aircraft has caught up with what computer-game programmers thought it was like in 1997. Sukhoi have clearly leapt ahead in the glass cockpit trend - can you pick out any non-FMC instrumentation at all? One screen - sorry, subwindow - is normally assigned to flight instrumentation, another to radar, and another to either weapons, navigation, or any other application, the whole shebang appearing on a pair of 15" LCD screens. There's even a cursor. Which should be fun, upside down, under too many G, hurtling over the marshy forests of Byelorussia..


Anonymous said...

The Russians should be proud of the Su35, but they should realise that their greatest ever war exports are/and will be AK47's and RPG's.

Wars of the future are urban.

Unknown said...

Would be interesting to know what the vulnerablility/reliablitily of those big display panels is compared to traditional instruments.

At least they're not touchscreens - I can only imagine the kind of gorilla arm you'd get at elevated gees, never mind the possibility of sticking your finger right through the display...

CW said...

The Sukhoi 35 has been around for a while... the question is whether this is a new version or just a cockpit upgrade.

That glass-cockpit design is not particularly bleeding edge - it's comparable to what you can find in new but ordinary general aviation aircraft. Of course it's way ahead of what the defense industrial complex can provide for new American fighters, because they can't just go buy multifunctional displays off the shelf - they have to buy the most expensive yet least useful technology from whatever company has hired the retired general or admiral who has the inside track.

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