Inherent to any design program is the need to test and evaluate operational performance. Such testing should begin during the earliest phases of development. The end goal should be to fully qualify the system at first flight. Unfortunately, in many past programs, waivers were requested for performance failures which were identified and known for some time. Despite the belief of program managers, the easiest and most cost-effective time to solve a problem is when it is first discovered.
At the very least, testing and evaluation should be a required action at all major program milestones. Detailed test plans should be predeveloped but be flexible enough to accommodate the recognized complexity of HMD systems. It is not to be expected that one grand HMD test and evaluation plan will serve for all HMD designs. However, there are some basic testing tenets and system parameters which should be considered, if not required, for a thorough testing plan.
As applicable, testing should consist of a bench (laboratory) phase and a field phase. Also, as applicable, testing should be at the subsystem, as well, as the system level. For the Army aviation HMD design, the basic subsystems are: image source, display optics, helmet, and tracker.
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